BBC orders doc exploring plight of Britain’s kelp forests

The Man Who Loves Kelp

UK pubcaster the BBC has commissioned The Man Who Loves Kelp (working title), a documentary about Britain’s underwater forests and and one man’s quest to protect the habitat, for BBC One factual strand Our Lives.

Produced by Big Wave Productions, and exec produced by Sarah Cunliffe, the 1 x 30-minute film is told through the eyes of 73-year-old lorry driver and free-diver, Eric Smith and his daughter Catrine Priestley, who share the story of an underwater forest that was teeming with life off the south coast, until trawlers came.

By 2019 the area was reduced to a barren underwater desert, with 96% of Sussex’s kelp gone. Eric, who has been diving since he was 11, could no longer stand witness to the destruction. His lobbying of the government body, Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority helped initiate a landmark plan to ban trawling in Sussex to let the seabed recover.

Cunliffe, founder and CEO of Big Wave, said that the film “not only exemplifies the kind of programming Big Wave does best – telling important stories about the natural world – it’s also very close to our hearts.  Eric’s story is an inspiration to us all that each one of us can help make change.”

Other recent natural history commissions from the BBC include a trio of titles from the BBC Studios Natural History Unit, including blue chip wildlife series Mammals, Big Little Journeys  and Wild Scandinavia.

Read Next