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There's something fishy and fantastic worth catching on ITV4

By Billy Weir

Published 28/04/2016

A load of carp: Neil Ruddock and his new pal make a splash, while Ali Hamidi looks on
A load of carp: Neil Ruddock and his new pal make a splash, while Ali Hamidi looks on

It can be easy to get slightly confused when you dangle your worm into the often murky waters of ITV4 expecting to see some fishing.

I had tuned in last week with the promise of Neil Ruddock, a man who always guarantees must-see TV, only to see the end of a show called River Monsters.

I thought this was a tad harsh on Mr Ruddock, some would say a tad risky of the producers, especially when the other guest was Steve Collins, no stranger to an altogether more dangerous type of hook.

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But no, the monster was dealt with by that strange white-haired man who spends his life going to far-flung places and spending hours looking forlornly into space in the vain hope of something happening.

As a Ballymena United fan I know this feeling all too well, but he soon made way for the Big Fish Off, which is a programme and not devastating news from a seafood restaurant, in which heavyweight Ruddock locked horns with middleweight Steve Collins in a series of angling-based japes hosted by Ali Hamidi and former decathlete Dean Macey.

Given Macey's injury-prone career you are always fearful of putting him so close to water but he was on home turf in Essex.

"This place may be famous for its white stilettos, boy racers and a little bit of fake tan but it's also famous for a decent spot of fishing," he told us, as he teamed up with the Celtic Warrior to take on Razor.

"Dean Macey, decathlete, 10 sports, he was crap at them, didn't win anything big in that, he ain't going to be any good at fishing," hinted Razor, before we joined him, like many defenders trying to keep hold of Robert Lewandowski, struggling to control a big pole.

Despite that shaky start he won the first 'catch as many as you can' challenge before Collins levelled things up the next day with a load of carp, I think that's what they said, setting up a decider on the high seas, where the winner would be decided by a restaurant paying for their fish.

Ruddock got £90 for his Torvill and Dean (that's skate to you and me) while Collins landed a knock-out blow with £135 for his, thus meaning he had flattened Razor and Ali albeit with several hooks.

A hugely entertaining time had by all, although maybe not for the skate, who were harmed in the making of the programme, but ITV4 thought of that, with the show followed, and I'm not making this up, by Paul O'Grady's Animal Orphans. Expect Ruddock and Collins to be savaged.

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