Phil Drabble – a coun­try­man born in the Black Coun­try

Black Country Bugle - - YOUR LETTERS - By DAN SHAW

FOR TV view­ers in the 1970s and ’80s Phil Drabble, pre­sen­ter of One Man and His Dog, was the archetype of the coun­try­man, but few re­alised that his roots lay in the in­dus­trial Black Coun­try.

He was born in 1914 in Bloxwich, where his fa­ther was a gen­eral prac­ti­tioner. Phil did not en­joy a happy child­hood; his mother died when he was nine years old and he was bul­lied at school, but he found an es­cape search­ing for but­ter­flies and birds in the sur­round­ing waste­lands, in­still­ing in him a life-long pas­sion for wildlife and the coun­try­side.

He was sent to Ke­ble Col­lege, Ox­ford, to study medicine but dropped out to be an en­gi­neer in­stead. His fa­ther got him a job at a local firm but Phil later joined Sal­ters, where he rose to join the board of direc­tors.

In 1941 his first ar­ti­cle, on Stafford­shire Bull Ter­ri­ers, was pub­lished in The Field. This led to a sec­ond ca­reer writ­ing about the coun­try­side. 1947 saw Phil make his ra­dio de­but, in a pro­gramme on Black Coun­try bull rings and in 1952 he first ap­peared on tele­vi­sion.

The fol­low­ing year Phil and his wife Jess bought a cot­tage with 90 acres of land at Ab­bots Brom­ley and set up a na­ture re­serve.

Phil gave up his job with Sal­ters and de­voted him­self to the coun­try­side, his writ­ing and tele­vi­sion ca­reer. One Man and His Dog be­gan broad­cast­ing in 1976, with Phil as the host un­til he re­tired in 1993. That same year he was awarded an OBE.

Phil Drabble con­tin­ued to write about and cam­paign for na­ture and passed away in 2007, aged 93.

Phil Drabble was a wildlife cam­paigner and wrote many books and ar­ti­cles on the coun­try­side

Bloxwich-born Phil Drabble was a cham­pion of tra­di­tional coun­try life

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