Whitby TV presenter Ace Bhatti explores the historical connection between art and the fishing industry on the east coast, in a BBC1 show to be aired on Monday.
The screening comes as the 47-year-old this week reveals his deep love of “great places to live” Whitby and Staithes.
Civilisations Stories: Art and the Sea focusses on the fishing, whaling and shipping industries that connected Yorkshire to the world, from the trawlermen of Whitby to whaling in Greenland, trade with Europe, the British Empire in India and beyond.
The fishing industry has mainly gone but Bhatti goes in search of the world-class art of that era that records the fishing people and their boats, making some exciting new discoveries.
Bhatti, who will star as Freddie Mercury’s father in the upcoming biopic Bohemian Rhapsody, hailed Whitby fish and chips as “the best in the world” and just why life on the east coast compares favourably to London, where the actor spends a great deal of his time.
“The portions are bigger and the people a hell of a lot friendlier,” he said. “It’s been the perfect place for my children to grow up. In Staithes in their early years, every day was spent outdoors.
“One winter, we even built a snowman on the beach!”
Bhatti, who EastEnders fans will recognise as the man who played evil Yusef Khan on the soap, added: “I love the sea and the Yorkshire coast has been my home for many years.
“It has been amazing to see the art created during the peak of the fishing industries which shows not only the scale of the industry and the prosperity it brought to the region, but the unpredictable and dangerous way of life it created.
“It was fascinating to see the fisherman’s art and to learn the stories of the fisher folk who painted in Staithes.”