Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BBC Sinks [Pounds Sterling]1m in Ocean-Floor Show

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BBC Sinks [Pounds Sterling]1m in Ocean-Floor Show

Article excerpt


WE'VE watched Sir David Attenborough preaching about the wonders of the natural world from the African savannah to the Galapagos Islands - but the BBC is now attempting to broadcast its most ambitious wildlife documentary yet.

A four-hour, ?llion programme titled The Abyss will feature a live link from the floor of the Pacific Ocean - from a remote controlled submersible.

The programme, to be broadcast this Sunday, will show pictures taken from three diving vessels: Tiburon, Mir and Atlantis.

The unmanned Tiburon, sending live footage, is expected to reveal extraordinary pictures of rarelyseen creatures - such as the deepsea hairy angler and the elephant's-ear sponge - as it descends to 2,000ft below sea level.

A crew of 100 scientists, producers and technicians will co-ordinate coverage of the dive from a research ship that has been kitted out with an editing suite and studio.

The pictures will be transmitted by a radio signal to the research ship above, where Peter Snow - better known to viewers as an election-night pundit - will provide a running commentary on the images as they are fed back by an underwater cameraman.

The descent will be interspersed with footage from pre-recorded dives by Alastair Fothergill, presenter of The Blue Planet, and Tomorrow's World host Kate Humble, on the Atlantis submersible.

Fothergill, who conceived the incredible documentary, is shown descending to 8,000ft in Mir - one of only four submersibles capable of reaching depths of 20,000ft.

He said: "It is the most ambitious documentary made to date. It is certainly mould-breaking. The planning needed to broadcast pictures live from the bottom of the sea is staggering. It's actually harder to go down to the deep sea than to film in space."

Thousands of miles from Fothergill's Atlantic dive site, Humble was filmed off Grand Cayman in the Caribbean. …

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