Specialist factual producer Big Wave Productions has been commissioned by BBC One to make The Man Who Loves Kelp (w/t).
The film, a story about one of Britain’s great underwater forests and one man’s quest to protect it, is for the BBC One strand Our Lives.
The Man Who Loves Kelp (w/t) (1 x 30 min), told through the eyes of 73-year-old lorry driver and free-diver, Eric Smith and his daughter Catrine Priestley, tells of a once magical underwater forest, teeming with life that used to flourish off the south coast, until the trawlers came. By 2019 the area was reduced to a barren desert, with 96% of Sussex’s kelp gone. Eric’s lobbying of the government body, Sussex Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (IFCA) helped initiate a landmark plan to ban trawling in Sussex to let the seabed recover. In 2021, those efforts paid off, when IFCA’s bylaw banned trawling out to 4km, to protect 300km2 off the Sussex coast – the first such ban in the UK.
Sarah Cunliffe, Founder and CEO, Big Wave Productions, says: “This 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 and we are thrilled to be bringing this story to BBC One.”
The Man Who Loves Kelp is Executive Produced by Sarah Cunliffe for Big Wave Productions. It was commissioned by Diana Hare for BBC One.
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