I found myself in Whitby last week for the first time in around a decade. The last time I had been was as a student on a fish and chip run from Durham one weekend. But before that it was a place of long and exciting childhood holidays on the east Yorkshire coast.
It was a bright spring day with a fresh easterly breeze. The cobles looked picturesque as ever in the sunshine and a miniature Endeavour was ferrying tourists in and out of the harbour’s crab-claw entrance (that you can see in my picture above).
That and a trip around the Captain Cook Museum in the harbour reminded me of an 80’s Australian biopic of the great explorer, who began his career in Whitby as an apprentice on a coal collier, sailing up and down the east coast to London.
I think (because I remember a Coco Pops advert on our VHS video) that this programme was shown on ITV sometime in the early nineties and I remember watching it cross-legged on the carpet by the fire. It gave me my first introduction to the eighteenth century – the formality of it, the three cornered hats, the wonder of adventure, the pomposity of the Royal Society, the hunt for the North West Passage.
Back home I’ve found that this programme has made it into digital (on You Tube). It is about as good as I remember it and I’ve spent the last feew nights reminiscing. You just have to forgive the odd Australian accent here and there but Keith Mitchell as Cook really is quite fantastic.
I thought I’d put an embedded version up here.