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BBC and PBS team on Big Blue Live event

BBC and PBS team on Big Blue Live event
Jon Creamer
08 May 2015

The BBC and PBS have commissioned a three part special from the BBC Natural History Unit that will see scientists, filmmakers and photographers and animal behaviorists come together for two weeks in late August and early September to document the rejuvenation of the once endangered and now thriving ecosystem of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California.

Matt Baker, Liz Bonnin, Steve Backshall and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will present the three-part series live from Monterey Bay, California.

The special has been ordered for the BBC by Charlotte Moore, Controller of BBC One and Tom McDonald, Head of Commissioning, Natural History & Specialist Factual Formats.

Charlotte Moore says: "In this ambitious television first, BBC One will take viewers on an extraordinary oceanic journey and get up close and personal with marine life above and beneath the water. It promises to be an unmissable live TV event showcasing a spectacular display of sea creatures rarely seen in such close proximity."

Tom McDonald says: “I’m thrilled to be commissioning the Natural History Unit to produce this ambitious live series for BBC One. With a fantastic line-up of presenters in a unique location on the California coast, we 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.”

James Honeyborne, Executive Producer, says: “The giants are returning. Join us live, as we celebrate the unique gathering of sea creatures at Monterey Bay - one of the most exciting and inspiring places on the planet."

Each year, 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 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 success story and find out possible ways to safeguard the future of all seas.

Big Blue Live, 3x60, a BBC Production with PBS distributed by BBC Worldwide, will be executive produced by James Honeyborne and series produced by Adam White for the BBC’s Natural History Unit. Craig Hunter is the commissioning editor. It will transmit on BBC One later this year.

In addition, presenters and crew will be posting news, photos and clips of the action as it happens for Big Blue Live Digital – Never Miss A Moment. They will be joined by scientists and experts from around the bay and up and down the coast.

This is one of the first projects under a new multi-year co-production partnership between BBC and PBS, with the two public service broadcasters working together on new factual programming.

“PBS is excited to work with the BBC to break new ground in science and nature programming with Big Blue Live,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS. “Viewers can experience and participate in the drama of the ultimate reality show as it unfolds in the natural world.”

Vice President of Programming and Development Bill Gardner and Sr Director of Programming and Development Bill Margol will oversee the project for PBS.

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