Film ID:
YFA 5818



Visitor Tabs


Journalist Bill Mitchell's job is to chronicle the lives of the people who inhabit the landscape he loves - the beautiful Yorkshire Dales. His magazine, The Dalesman, has a circulation of 56,000 but it is estimated to be read by more than half a million people every month. These readers are scattered not just throughout Yorkshire, but can be found in Bhutan and the Falklands. Now, after forty years as reporter and editor, Bill Mitchell - one of the best-loved characters - is to retire. Alan Bennett narrates and Richard Whiteley reports on Bill's travels as he meets shepherds, farmers and other true Dales folk.

The film begins with Bill Mitchell walking over the moors towards the camera.  The commentary states that Bill Mitchell has been editor of the Dalesman for 24 years and is about to retire.  

Title – The Dalesman
Narrated by Alan Bennett

Mitchell talks about the character of the people of the Dales, and relates how the magazine started back in April 1939, when the first issue, which is shown, was started by Harry J Scott.  As Mitchell enters the magazine’s offices, a converted stable block in Clapham, North Yorkshire, he relates stories about Scott.  We see the printing company of Smith of Bradford printing copies of the journal.  65,000 copies are printed for each issue, with 3,000 going overseas.  Women in the office are packing copies for posting.  They talk about the letters they receive from all parts of the world raising the journal.  They read out one form Massachusetts. 

The new editor, David Joy, joins Mitchell in the editing room.  They discuss an appropriate photo for the next, Spring, edition, choosing one of Scarborough.  They flip through a copy giving an idea of its content, and highlight the regular reader’s club feature.  

Again Mitchell is out walking, talking about how he has found content over the years.  He is joined by a friend, a sheep farmer, who demonstrates the skills of his sheep dog.  He too talks about the typical Dalesman’s character. Mitchell then visits two elderly women who have been contributing from the very first editions, and are still doing so, Marie Hartley and Joan Ingleby.  There is a phot of them from the early days.  Marie Hartley does paintings that go into the magazine, which are also shown.  They have found an early Harry Scott form September 1939 which they read out.  They are interviewed by Alan Bennett about the difference between now and then, and the differences between Harry Scott and Mitchell.

Mitchell and Alan Bennett walk along by a river talking about the characteristics of the Dalesman.  Mitchell meets another old friend, Arthur Hodgson, who keeps deer on his grounds.  Arthur is also seen making of his walking sticks with antlers as handles.  Mitchel and David Joy walk over fields and meet up with freelance dry-stone waller Geoff, who is repairing a wall, and is asked about his life in Lintondale.  Joy talks about his editorial approach and how this differs from that of Mitchell’s.  Mitchell goes into a pub and talks about the travels he done getting stories for the Dalesman, and that after his retirement he plans to investigate some of the stories more fully.  The film finishes where it started, with Mitchell walking along the same path, only this time away from the camera.

End credits:
Researched and written by Saran Page
Production Assistant  Chris Tattersall
Sound  Ron Gunn
Dubbing Mixer  Terry Ritson
Cameraman Charles B Wilson
Executive Producer  Graham Ironside
Producer  David Lowen
Director  Ian McFarlane
© Yorkshire Television  1988