BBC announces Big Blue Live nature series


Following in the footsteps of shows such as Springwatch, a new three-day event from the BBC’s Natural History Unit will feature marine life off the California coast.

This latest live nature series, called Big Blue Live, will track whales, sharks and other animals that gather off the coast of Monterey Bay.

The series, to be broadcast in August, will be co-presented by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame. Hugh has campaigned against over-fishing in his Channel 4 series Hugh’s Fish Fight and has been chosen for the role by the BBC because "he cares passionately about marine conservation and marine protected areas".

Hugh will join Steve Backshall, Matt Baker and Liz Bonnin for what the BBC says will "bring the UK audience closer than ever before to some of our most extraordinary marine life, giving them a ringside seat over a week in August to one of the greatest animal gatherings on Earth."

Each year, some of the world’s most spectacular marine animals, including blue whales, humpback whales, elephant seals, dolphins, sea otters and great white sharks gather off the coast of Monterey Bay.

Many of the animals will make long and difficult migrations to reach the bay, counting on a glut of fish and plankton as their reward. Some won’t survive the journey and if they do reach their destination safely, the feast isn’t guaranteed. Which animals will arrive this year and will there be enough food to sustain them?

This vast gathering is also a cause for celebration because many of these animals were once hunted to the brink of extinction. Now, along the Californian Coast, the hunting has stopped and the seas are protected; the team will investigate this inspiring success story and find out possible ways to safeguard the future of all our seas.

Matt will host the show live from Monterey Bay Aquarium, with Liz. He will be eye to eye with some of the cutest wildlife live, and will explore the animals and spectacle of Monterey Bay and meet some of the inspirational people who live and study within this extraordinary location.

Steve will be seeking out whales and dolphins and other spectacular wildlife, while Hugh will be celebrating arguably the greatest conservation success story in the world, and shows what happens when you give nature a chance.

The team will also be on the lookout for the bay’s biggest visitors — blue whales. The largest animal on the planet can be surprisingly elusive, so the team will take to the air to try and spot them, will join scientists who tag these ocean giants, and will look at how shipping companies and biologists are working together to avoid deadly collisions.

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