Oceans, Sea of Cortez

Tonight BBC 2 8pm
(repeated on the HD channel on Saturday at 5pm)

In this episode the team explore how a unique ocean paradise; home to the greatest variety of whales and dolphins in the world, is under threat. Expedition Leader Paul Rose, Environmentalist Philippe Cousteau Jr, Maritime Archaeologist Dr Lucy Blue and Marine Biologist and Oceanographer Tooni Mahto dive stormy seas to investigate how a giant predator, the cannibalistic Humboldt squid, is invading this sea; and search for the threatened hammerhead shark. In an extraordinary encounter, they carry out pioneering science on one of the largest carnivores on earth - the 20 metre long sperm whale. They dive a sunken ship with a tragic human story and to search for evidence that this sea is still growing they dive along part of the San Andreas fault line, above waters heated to near boiling by the furnace of the inner earth.
Produced and Directed by: Matthew Gyves
Series Producer: Helen Thomas
Executive Producer: Anne Laking

"A classy documentary"…. The Sunday Telegraph

"A shimmering Series".... The Sun

“There are a myriad of reasons to watch this eye catching series……superb underwater photography…..plenty of fun for fact fans….You’ll be hooked to New Year” ....Mail on Sunday

"Top Aqua Totty!".... Radio 4

Philippe Cousteau free diving with sperm whales by BBC & Ian Kellett


  1. Anonymous5:12 PM

    Great show, great presenters. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  2. BBC 2’s Oceans is just shite. I turned off after 15 minutes and I love the sea so much I can spend an hour looking at a pea crab nurdling pointlessly round a rockpool. Ocean, God rot their mediocre souls, made the Southern Ocean - completely mundane.

  3. Yes. And what on earth has happened to ‘Horizon’? Did you watch their recent ’spot the loony’ two-part reality show?
    No, me neither.

  4. Martin R6:34 PM

    I didn’t even watch Oceans and I’m cross. And yes, Horizon, what happened? The BBC are treating their viewers with the kind of patronising contempt previously managed only by ITV. If enough people watch it it must be good. Arse. I enjoyed your rant though.

  5. Oh for crying out loud. I just watched the first ten minutes of the “Southern Ocean” episode and you are absolutely right to rant. The phrase “climate change is happening” was actually uttered (rather patronisingly it must be said) over the image of the svelte presenters trying to pose adventurously on the bow of a big fat diesel spewing thing cruising at top speed across the waves and then wailing about kelp die-offs (caused by climate change!) from a helicopter. That’s right, a helicopter. Puh leeze. I am not saying that we aren’t all climate change hypocrites to some extent, but this was just lame.

    Sails, people.

  6. Nick Stonier9:25 AM

    I thought this offering was truly awful- the very epitome of dumbing down. The science was pseudo science at best. The team of "experts" seemed to conclude, on the basis of a couple of dives to one sea mount in a huge area of ocean the size of several countries, that because they hadn't spotted any hammerhead sharks at that particular location, they "must have all disappeared due to over-fishing". What rubbish.

    Worse still, they claimed that the sea-lions had changed their feeding habits because they were now hunting sea bass, which apparently operate at a depth 5 metres below which the sea lions can normally be found hunting in. I'm no sea-lion expert, but excuse me? You're trying to tell me that creatures the size of sea-lions are displaying somehow "unusual" behaviour or have developed a "new skill" simply because they've discovered that with an extra twist of a flipper they can find themselves 5 metres deeper in the water & pick up new prey?! Hilarious.

    Wild brown (ferox) trout in Scottish lochs operate at different levels in the water depending on the time of year, age of the fish, and many, many other variables. The behaviour also differs from loch to loch- and is still not properly understood. Is it, therefore, so surprising, that ONE particular group of sea-lions has adapted to local conditions? Frankly, no it isn't. Give me ten such studies from all around the world saying the same thing, then I'll start to lend it some credence.

    And, do we really need to see these people disporting themselves in the water on a day off? The whole show had a whiff of "White Squall" about it.

    Yet another in the BBC's long list of commissioned programmes consisting of how man is responsible for all the changes in animal behaviour/extinctions/global warming etc etc. I thought the BBC believed in Darwinism, evolution...

    Like Horizon, this show is not serious science. It is a vehicle for Brand Cousteau to thrust itself back into public focus, together with a bunch of nonebrities from the University of NorthWest Suffolk or some such other serious academic insitution who look as though they're either in their gap years, or should be backpacking round Goa in the 1960s.


  7. Anthony9:26 AM

    This is one of the most dissapointing programmes I have ever seen, the concept of a nature programme centering around different diving techniques has high potential. This programme stank of a wealthy student's holiday video blog, with the presenters justifying themselves with GCSE science experiments. If we put an egg somewhere hot, it will cook. Thanks for that.
    As soon as the presenters hit the waters they are within seconds of immediate danger, when the crew lost a radio link with a dive his outlook was grim. What bloody difference does a radiolink make when this "presenter" is 30 odd meters under water with a camera crew?

  8. Mike Nicholson9:26 AM

    Agreed on all counts - and there's much worse to reveal.

    Some diving friends of mine - who have very close working ties with some senior staff at BBC Natural History Unit in Bristol - were recently given a graphic (and very pissed-off) description of how the Natural History Unit were effectively 'cut out' of the editorial process when OCEANS was going through post-production. It was entirely led by producers based in London, none of whom have experience in natural history television. The Natural History Unit staff - who supplied diving / wildlife cinematography expertise on the shoots - were then waved-away from any further input once back in the UK. Seemingly, some of the same people who worked on the likes of BLUE PLANET also worked on OCEANS, but their expertise was not used in the scripting stages or edit suite. As a result, the series is allegedly an entire shambles; an embarrassment for the Natural History Unit staff because of how BBC Science (London) constructed the series and 'dumbed down' the whole thing; and a scientific mess. I suspect a number of contributing scientists will feel grossly misrepresented if the first programme is anything to go by.

    The Natural History Unit staff are also suggesting there are many issues with sequences being edited purely for dramatic effect or even bordering on fabrication of actual events for added impact. After the BBC's furore earlier this year after being caught with false editing in factual programmes (remember The Queen?), I'll be fascinated to see if OCEANS is also risking coming a cropper through similar 'drama' being added where none actually existed.... BBC should have learned to not do this!