Coast

This series takes a journey around the coast of the United Kingdom, exploring the fascinating natural history, history, wildlife, and biology and uncovering unique personal stories.

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  • All at Sea
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    February 8, 2014

    The Coast team are all at sea, as they head offshore to explore surprising stories of love and death, cannibalism and communist submarines, seasickness and a seafaring prince. Nick Crane attempts one of the world's most fearsome yachting challenges, the Isle of Wight 'Round the Island Race'. Mark Horton relives a gruesome tale of cannibalism and murder that scandalised Victorian Britain and still affects the law today. In Milford Haven, Ruth Goodman celebrates unsung heroes who arrived from distant shores. Naval historian Nick Hewitt searches out the remarkable remains of the submarines that threatened to sink Britain by strangling its sea trade. And one hardy bunch of sea-anglers, who all hail from Zimbabwe, find that a life on the ocean wave isn't all it's cracked up to be when they chance their hand with rod and line in the rolling seas off the coast of Yorkshire

  • Rivers and Seas Collide
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    February 1, 2014

    Nick Crane explores the wealth of wildlife and industry that are attracted to the Firth of Forth, the estuary that feeds Edinburgh. Nick also investigates a remarkable natural phenomenon discovered accidentally on this coast in 1834. First seen in the water of a canal near Edinburgh and dubbed the 'Soliton', it's a rare type of wave that appears to travel endlessly, without losing energy and without breaking up, even when it collides with another Soliton wave. Miranda Krestovnikoff witnesses the extraordinary transformation that salmon must make to their bodies to avoid death by dehydration as they migrate from freshwater to saltwater.Mark Horton discovers the astonishing struggle to build a rail tunnel deep under the Severn estuary between England and Wales. And multi-award winning folk-singer, June Tabor, returns to Coast.

  • The Secret Life of Sea Cliffs
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    January 25, 2014

    Nick Crane explores some of the most spectacular Yorkshire sea cliffs in Britain. He joins secretive sea fishermen who have constructed a remarkable ropeway to make the perilous descent to fishing grounds at the foot of sheer sea cliffs. Nick also explores the ingenious water-powered mechanism that operates the Victorian cliff lift at Saltburn-by-the-Sea. Tessa Dunlop meets a woman who witnessed a top-secret American 'invasion' of the English south coast during the Second World War. On the sea cliffs that surround Ramsey Island, biologist Sarah Beynon hunts for the superheroes of the insect world who do the island's dirty work, the dung beetles.

  • Joy of the Coast
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    January 18, 2014

    Nick Crane heads to the Western Isles in Scotland to attempt a daunting, long-coveted, mountaineering challenge on the Isle of Skye: climbing the fearsome Cioch. Nick also reveals how, in the mid 19th century, Thomas Cook was inspired by the new steamships criss-crossing Scottish seas to create his famous package tours, a novel concept that Cook went on to promote worldwide. Ruth Goodman learns how 150 years ago in this picturesque Cornish harbour women and men's livelihoods depended on their skills at 'contract knitting', making workwear to order. Poet and storyteller Ian McMillan seeks creative inspiration in the painter's paradise of St Ives. Tessa Dunlop takes the plunge into the glamorous history of British lidos, those temples of sun-worshipping pleasure which sprang up around our shores in the 1930s.

  • The Workers' Coast
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    January 11, 2014

    Nick Crane tells the chilling tale of an abandoned refrigeration plant whose workers kept Britain's biggest fishing fleet afloat. Nick joins a crack team of drivers on a race against time to precision park hundreds of new British-built cars aboard a huge purpose-built car-transporter. Neil Oliver relives a remarkable tale: when thousands of shipyard workers on the river Clyde fought job losses, not by walking out on strike, but by 'working-in'. Tessa Dunlop reveals the astonishing, untold story of the secret of the Royal Navy's sea power, some 200 years ago. And Ken Dodd joins Coast's resident story-teller Ian McMillan to celebrate the entertainers who worked so hard to get laughs from the holidaymakers of Blackpool in its heyday.

  • Invaders of the Isles
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    January 4, 2014

    Nick Crane explores how the remarkable history of Guernsey reveals both the risks and rewards of invasion. Tessa Dunlop visits Norfolk to relive the forgotten Zeppelin blitz on Britain during the First World War, which began at Great Yarmouth in January 1915 when the first Britons were killed in an air raid. Ruth Goodman joins the friendly invasion of the Isle of Man by thousands of bikers for the annual Isle of Man TT races. On a tiny rocky outcrop in seas off western Scotland, Andy Torbet encounters remarkable animal invaders - water voles who are usually confined to mainland Britain. The Coast team also visits the remote isle of Stroma, Scotland, which was abandoned following the invasion of the modern world

  • The Secret Life of Beaches
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    November 23, 2013

    Exploring the stories and histories of Britain's beaches. Nicholas Crane searches for leeches in the pebble-pools of Dungeness in Kent, and learns how the area was formed. Hermione Cockburn takes to the air to view sand art in Jersey, Andy Torbet visits one of the nation's most dangerous beaches, Tessa Dunlop inspects a steelworks built on the shore of Port Talbot, and in Aberlady Bay, East Lothian, Nick Hewitt unearths submarines that played a pivotal role in sinking the Tirpitz, one of Hitler's largest battleships.

  • The Riddle of the Tides
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    November 16, 2013

    Exploring the tidal ebb and flow of the seas surrounding Britain. Nicholas Crane braves the dangerous rapids off the coast of Anglesey, and investigates a tidal predictor in Liverpool. Miranda Krestovnikoff visits Jersey's Seymour Tower to witness the marine life revealed at low spring tide, Tessa Dunlop compares the fashions in bathing suits favoured by different generations of beach-goers and Mark Horton travels to Poppit Sands, Pembrokeshire, to explore the remains of a 900-year old fish trap.

  • Peril from the Seas
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    November 9, 2013

    Exploring Britain's maritime stories. Nicholas Crane tells the tale of the Great Storm of 1703, which saw ships blown from British shores to Norway, while Ian McMillan discusses the fate of hospital ship Rohilla, which ran aground off Whitby, North Yorkshire, in 1914. Tessa Dunlop reveals the dangers of working in the dockyards where naval warships were built in the 19th century, and Dick Strawbridge is in Tiree in the Inner Hebrides, where he explains how the timings of the D-Day landings were determined by RAF weather forecasters. Andy Torbet searches for the elusive storm petrel on Alderney, in the Channel Islands.

  • The Hidden History of Harbours
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    November 2, 2013

    Exploring the history of Britain's harbours. Nicholas Crane visits Newlyn, Cornwall, where in 1854, a fishing boat set sail on the 12,000-mile journey to Melbourne, Australia. Dick Strawbridge explores the building of airships in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, in the early 1900s, while Tessa Dunlop travels to Portsmouth to investigate the history of body art. Ruth Goodman hears how Birkenhead's harbour led to the opening of the world's first municipal park and there is a look at naval warfare re-enactments by Scarborough council staff.