The nation's love affair with the coast will be reawakened for this entertaining and ambitious exploration of the entire UK coastline. Every part of the 9,000-mile coast is covered to explore how we've shaped it - and how it shapes us. Hosted by a team of history and geography experts who investigate everything from life on a nuclear submarine; rebuilding the Titanic using computer images; the story behind the first Butlins holiday camp; and the birth of the Severn Bore. Discover the curious, sometimes dysfunctional, relationship between the British and the seas.
Coast explores surprising stories that connect our great cities to the sea. Nick Crane pays tribute to the unsung and astonishing mega-port of Immingham, Tessa Dunlop uncovers the astonishing story of how Hitler's bombers could have drowned London and Ruth Goodman investigates the clandestine coastal sex trade that scandalised Victorian Britain.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Before air travel, Britain's harbours were gateways to global adventure. There are more than a thousand ports, big and small, around the UK coastline, all with fascinating secret stories, many of them revealed for the first time in this episode. At the Cornish fishing harbour of Newlyn, Nick Crane re-lives an astonishing, unsung feat of heroic British seamanship. In 1854, a tiny fishing boat, The Mystery, set sail from Newlyn to make the 12,000 mile voyage to Melbourne. She was the smallest boat ever to attempt the journey, but the seven Cornishmen on board were prepared to risk their lives in the world's wildest seas to join the Australian gold rush. In the ship-building town of Barrow-in-Furness, Dick Strawbridge explores a forgotten top secret project involving building airships that might rival the German Zeppelins. In the face of entrenched opposition, the venture would be dubbed 'the work of an idiot' by one royal navy admiral. Meanwhile, the Zeppelins soared to new heights, the unlikely secret of their success being the cow guts used to make the gas bags which kept them aloft. Elsewhere, Tessa Dunlop heads to Portsmouth to discover the hidden history of the tattoo, Mark Horton joins an archaeological dig at the Irish Pompeii in Northern Ireland and Ruth Goodman investigates how the building of a new harbour and docks at Birkenhead would lead to the opening of the world's first municipal park there in 1847. There is also a celebration of a classic piece of British eccentricity at Peasholm Park in Scarborough, where, in a tradition going back more than 80 years, staff from Scarborough Council take to the boating pond concealed inside man-sized model warships, and boldly facing the torpedoes, shellfire and dive bombers of a hostile fleet.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Coast ventures to the furthest flung reaches of the British Isles to discover the most extreme locations, lifestyles and challenges of 'Life Beyond The Edge'. Nick Crane explores the exotic Isles of Scilly - 28 miles beyond Land's End, these are England's final full stop. On magical isles with a Caribbean feel, Nick joins the locals to attempt one of the most bizarre walks in Britain, as they try to wade on foot through the surging seas from island to island. It's a challenge only possible at exceptionally low-tide, yet still the seawater threatens to swamp them. To discover what life is like on this extreme edge, Nick visits the last house on the very tip of the most westerly inhabited isle. He pushes beyond the edges of Britain's history too, walking back in time to the bronze age, as the seabed reveals evidence of an ancient settlement, long submerged beneath the waves. Is this the site of the legendary 'Lost Kingdom of Lyonesse', said to be the last resting place of King Arthur? On precipitous slopes, beyond the edge of Devon, Coast newcomer and social historian Ruth Goodman follows in the footsteps of the remarkable Branscombe cliff farmers, who for generations followed a hardy way of life that's now gone with the sea breeze. Ruth relives a day in the ceaseless toil of the last man left on these perilous cliffs, the aptly named 'Cliffie' Gosling, who together with his trusty donkeys made the steep ascent between land and sea daily until the 1960s. Mark Horton explores the cutting edge of Victorian information technology in a celebration of one of Britain's most audacious engineering achievements. The titanic struggle to create the transatlantic telegraph service between Britain and America would eventually herald the birth of global communications, but how did Brunel's mighty ship, the Great Eastern, manage to lay a cable 2,000 miles along the seabed to transmit and receive tiny electric signals between continents? Mark and the team rebuildWatch Now:AmazoniTunes
For centuries Britons have charted a course to the glorious coast of Sweden for its treasure trove of riches, now for the first time Coast explores the British connections to this stunning shore on the edge of the Baltic Sea. Nick Crane's journey starts in one of the most picturesque parts of Sweden, the dramatic peaks of the High Coast are a wonder of the world and, remarkably, the mountains are still growing at the rate of one centimetre every year. Nick also finds out why Britain's early engineers had to come to Sweden for iron to help forge our Industrial Revolution. Alice Roberts explores the extraordinary story of how, during the Second World War, Britain's military effort almost ground to a halt without Swedish ball bearings and how brave British servicemen beat the German blockade of the country. Mark Horton visits the world's most remarkable shipwreck, The Vasa, which has been called the Tutankhamun of maritime archaeology. Dick Strawbridge climbs the rigging of one of the last great commercial sailing ships, known as the Windjammers. As recently as the 1940s these tall ships managed to give steamships a run for their money. Dick discovers how in the days of Empire, the Windjammers connected Britain to Australia with their legendary grain races. The team also explore Abba Island and search out moose in Sweden's frozen North.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Coast travels right around the wonderful Welsh coast from the Severn estuary, to the Dee estuary. Nick Crane investigates the evidence that a devastating tsunami crashed on to the coast of Wales and England some 400 years ago. Villages were wiped off the map and thousands died, leaving the survivors to believe they had suffered the judgement of God; but was it a tidal wave that was to blame? Nick also discovers why scientists planning an expedition to the Red Planet find the Welsh coast a surprisingly good stand-in for the surface of Mars. Alice Roberts attempts to get airborne with just helium balloons attached to her waist as she tests the claim that the world's first powered flight was actually made by a Welsh carpenter. Meanwhile, Miranda Krestovnikoff lands where few people ever tread - on Grassholm; an extraordinary island normally kept exclusively for the birds. In 1947 two brothers were on holiday on Anglesey when one sketched a rough notion in the sand for a completely new kind of vehicle - Dick Strawbridge explores how that coastal blueprint became the plan for the Land Rover. Plus Tessa Dunlop reveals how some 30 years ago an army of local volunteers managed to keep 3,000 Asians, who had been expelled from Uganda, warm and well-fed in an abandoned military base during a Welsh seaside winter.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The team's journey continues around the stunning shores of Devon and Cornwall. Nick Crane is on a fishing expedition on board one of the last remaining Brixham trawlers. He also explores how Henry VIII, fearing attack after his famous divorce, built a string of cleverly positioned forts all along the south coast. The Isles of Scilly are surrounded by lush, golden green underwater meadows of seagrass; Miranda Krestovnikoff explores the diverse wildlife of this natural sub-sea paradise. Mark Horton reveals the extraordinary story of how Lawrence of Arabia went to Plymouth, where he helped develop revolutionary fast rescue boats that saved countless lives in the Second World War. Dick Strawbridge learns the surprising secrets of the global steam power revolution pioneered in the tin mines of Cornwall some 200 years ago. And with the aid of some big wind machines, Alice Roberts creates her own perfect storm.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
The presenters seek out the ideal locations to enjoy their personal passions. Nick Crane heads to the Inner Hebrides to attempt a mountaineering challenge on the Isle of Skye, and reveals how Thomas Cook was inspired in the mid-19th century to create his famous package tours by the steamships criss-crossing Scottish waters. Avid knitter Ruth Goodman gets some tips for completing a complex fisherman's jumper by visiting Polperro in Cornwall, learning how people's livelihoods 150 years ago depended on their skills at making workwear to order. Poet Ian McMillan looks for creative ideas in the Cornish seaside resort of St Ives and explores the life and work of self-taught artist Alfred Wallis, and Tessa Dunlop explores the glamorous history of British lidos - public outdoor swimming pools that sprang up around the UK in the 1930s.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Miranda dives into a marine reserve off St Abbs, one of Britain's sites for underwater wildlife. Neil recreates a wartime scheme to train seagulls to search for German U-boats and Hermione explores the 400-year-old connection between a picturesque village and the birth of deep coal mining in Britain.
Just five months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, he was riding in an open top limo through the crowded streets of Galway. Neil Oliver meets the photographer who managed to get up close and personal with the President and talk him into the perfect snap. Miranda Krestovnikoff explores an odd little island where the mountain hare population is thriving and Nick Crane investigates a local legend that says that Clew Bay has 365 islands, one for each day of the year. Alice Roberts unearths the remarkable remains of the oldest farm in the British Isles.Watch Now:iTunes
Blackpool is Britain's most visited seaside destination. How has the resort succeeded when others have gone under? The pleasure park is one of many innovative attractions imported here from America. Neil Oliver views the coast at high speed with a visit to the RAF's world famous "Pilot Factory". As he takes to the skies in a Hawk Jet with an instructor, can he travel from Anglesey to Blackpool and back in just under half an hour?Watch Now:iTunes
Neil Oliver and Tessa Dunlop present the ultimate guide to East Anglia - from The Wash to Canvey Island. Building on the best of ten years of Coast stories from these shores, Neil takes to the sea on a variety of boats to seek out new stories for the Great Guide and bring well-known ones up to date, from seal-watching at England's biggest grey seal colony to extreme coastal erosion at Happisburgh. From its earliest pre-history, Neil explores the incredible stories that underpin this coastline, which was once our landbridge to the continent, and he also celebrates more recent times with a trip aboard a floating relic of the herring industry. Neil finishes his exploration at Orford Ness, where the battle between sea and land is still being fought out - and where one of East Anglia's most distinctive landmarks is at risk from the encroaching waters.Watch Now:Amazon
Neil discovers how a beach became the 'fastest place on earth' 80 years ago. Mark explores how Swansea's monopoly of the copper trade sped Nelson towards his Trafalgar victory. Miranda joins dolphins at the coast raising their young and Alice boards a dredger to discover how much sand we are consuming.Watch Now:iTunes
Neil Oliver discovers the network of cables under a Porthcurno beach which wrap around the world in a tale of invention, espionage and surprise. Mark Horton visits the Isles of Scilly to meet the two football teams battling it out in Britain's smallest league and Alice Roberts paints up a storm in St Ives.Watch Now:iTunes
Neil discovers how mysterious flotsam inspired Columbus' journey to America. Alice explores the botanical puzzle of "The Burren" - where Arctic plants grow next to Mediterranean flowers. Miranda reveals the surprising secrets of seaweed that make it the special ingredient in everything from toothpaste to beer.
The Danes top the polls as the happiest people on earth and Neil Oliver wants to know what they have to smile about. Nick Crane investigates how the Danish made a big business out of selling bacon to Britain. Alice Roberts sets sail in a full scale replica of a Viking longship to see how these ships gave Norsemen the advantage over the English in battle. Miranda Krestovnikoff meets some unflappable red deer. On Heligoland, Mark Horton reveals how in 1947 Britain's Royal Navy blew this tiny island apart in the largest non-nuclear explosion the world had ever seen and Dick Strawbridge gets access to the construction of one of the world's largest offshore wind farms.Watch Now:AmazoniTunes
Nick investigates the freak floods of 1953; Alice explores the landbridge which joined us to the continent; whilst Nick meets Peter Boggis, a man trying to save his home from the sea; and Neil celebrates Trafalgar 200 examining an eye witness account of the battle.Watch Now:iTunes
Why did Alfred Nobel, founder of the famous prizes, pick the South West of Scotland as the ideal site for the world's biggest explosives factory? Nicholas Crane discovers the remarkable use for the island of Ailsa Craig's beautiful granite.Watch Now:iTunes
Alice discovers 5,000 year old footprints on the beach; whilst Nick investigates our worst lifeboat disaster; Mark is on the track of the Roman conquest of Northern Europe in Maryport and Neil ventures onto the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay.Watch Now:iTunes
Nick takes part in a NATO exercise at the Cape Wrath bombing range; Neil meets the descendants of the people displaced by the Highland Clearances; and the survivors of the worst loss of British Naval life in Scapa Flow; whilst Alice visits the Dounreay reactor.Watch Now:iTunes
Nick explores the holy island of Lindisfarne; Alice helps rebuild Britain's first house in Howick; whilst Neil examines the tensions in South Shields that led to race riots in the 1930s and Miranda gets up close and personal with grey seals.Watch Now:iTunes
The beautiful cliffs of Dover are a breathtaking sight. On this stretch of the coastline chalk has not only defined and shaped the landscape but has also been the starting point of many innovators and their pioneering work. Our guide Neil Oliver takes over from Nicholas Crane this series, and guides us along this journey of beautiful scenery and remarkable discoveries.Watch Now:iTunes
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