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This is usually accepted as the earliest known written reference to a reel.

However, there are examples of Oriental paintings that depict Chinese fishermen using reels of various sizes that date to the twelfth century.

“Now – partly because of oral histories and photographs but I think more dramatically because of film – ordinary Britons see that they have a history too.

Film has changed the way we look at the past.” Reel History of Britain certainly celebrates British working life in all its variety, with clips showing people doing everything from catching herring to mining coal.

“I read history at university [Bragg read Modern History at Wadham College, Oxford] and, putting it rather crudely, I’d never come across anyone like me [i.e. You only saw the people who made history: the aristocracy, the politicians, the war heroes, the generals. Whereas the aristocracy of this country had a history.

They had a history in their portraits, and in their family genealogies and they had it in history books.

This is a bold ambition, especially as the series deliberately eschews a chronological structure or overarching thesis.

Instead, says Bragg, it is an attempt to democratise television history, by showing viewers how British people lived, outside royal palaces and the Houses of Parliament.

Several months later, Bragg turned up on their doorsteps at the wheel of his mobile cinema, inviting people to watch the archive footage they featured in (sometimes for the first time) and tell him the stories behind the images.

Through this patchwork of personal reminiscences, Reel History attempts to tell the “story of life in Britain between 19”.

Angling historians have long been frustrated in trying to trace the history of the fishing reel.

In 1651, English literature first reported a “wind” installed within two feet of the lower end of the rod.

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