Coast (TV series)

Coast (TV series)
Genre Documentary
Created by BBC Birmingham
Directed by Jonathan Barker
Oliver Clark
Paul Barnett
Nigel Walk
Presented by Nicholas Crane
Neil Oliver
Mark Horton
Miranda Krestovnikoff
Alice Roberts
Composer(s) Alan Parker
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
No. of series 6
No. of episodes 51
Executive producer(s) Gary Hunter
William Lyons
Gill Tierney
Emma De'ath
Producer(s) Steve Evanson
Editor(s) Mike Bloore
Lauri White
Martin Dowell
Cinematography Julian Clinkard
Running time 60 min (approx.)
Original channel BBC
Original run 02005-07-2222 July 2005 – present
Related shows Fossil Detectives

Coast is a BBC documentary series first broadcast on BBC Two television in 2005. A second series started on 26 October 2006, a third in early 2007 and a fourth in mid-2009. It covers various subjects relating to both the natural and social history of the British coastline and also more recently, that of Britain's neighbours, such as the Republic of Ireland, France, and in the Low Countries and Scandinavia.[1] A fifth series was aired in 2010, followed by a sixth in 2011. The series is a collaboration between the Open University and BBC Productions, Birmingham.

The original presenters, and their fields of interest, are:

All of the original five presenters have appeared on a regular basis in all series. Several other presenters have also become regulars after originally appearing on a one-off basis:

All but one of the episodes in the first series ended with Nicholas Crane stating that in the British Isles, "Remember, you are never more than 72 miles from the sea!"[1]. Neil Oliver closed the fifth series with the same statement.

Series one started at the White Cliffs of Dover and progressed in a clockwise fashion around the coast of Great Britain (with a side trip to Northern Ireland). Series two again started at Dover but subsequent episodes did not follow series one in circumnavigating the UK coast, instead featuring various locations, including sections of the coast of the Republic of Ireland. Series four reintroduced the circular element, starting at Whitstable and ending at Hull, though with visits to Ireland, Normandy and Norway as well.

Series four, five and six are simulcast on the BBC HD channel.

Extracts from the programme are often used as filler items on BBC Two, for example following a fifty-minute documentary programme such as The Natural World or Horizon, to allow the next full programme to begin on the hour. As the aerial shots from the Coast programmes are made in high-definition, they are also used in this way on BBC HD.

Episodes from old series have been shown on Yesterday.

Series 5 was shown overseas (e.g. in New Zealand on the Living Channel), before being shown on the BBC.


DVD releases

Series one to five of Coast have been released on Region 2 DVD by Contender Home Entertainment, or, following their acquisition, by E1 Entertainment. Series six has been released on DVD and, for the first time, on Blu-ray by Acorn Media UK.

Series Episodes Originally
Discs Runtime Publisher
From To Region 2 Region B
One 12[2] July 22, 2005 (2005-07-22) August 28, 2005 (2005-08-28) October 24, 2005 (2005-10-24) n/a 3 686 mins Contender
Home Entertainment
Two 8 October 26, 2006 (2006-10-26) December 14, 2006 (2006-12-14) November 27, 2006 (2006-11-27) n/a 3 480 mins Contender
Home Entertainment
Three 8 June 3, 2007 (2007-06-03) August 7, 2007 (2007-08-07) July 16, 2007 (2007-07-16) n/a 3 480 mins Contender
Home Entertainment
Four 8 July 14, 2009 (2009-07-14) September 1, 2009 (2009-09-01) August 24, 2009 (2009-08-24) n/a 3 480 mins E1
Five 8 July 25, 2010 (2010-07-25) September 1, 2010 (2010-09-01) September 6, 2010 (2010-09-06) n/a 3 480 mins E1
Six 6 June 5, 2011 (2011-06-05) July 17, 2011 (2011-07-17) July 18, 2011 (2011-07-18) July 18, 2011 (2011-07-18) 2 360 mins Acorn Media UK

Numerous box sets have been released, including one which packaged series one with another BBC documentary, A Picture of Britain.

Title DVD
Discs DVD
Region 2
Coast: Series 1 & A Picture of Britain Box Set March 27, 2006 (2006-03-27) 5 1080 mins Contender
Home Entertainment
Coast: Series 1 & 2 Box Set November 27, 2006 (2006-11-27) 6 1166 mins Contender
Home Entertainment
Coast: Series 1, 2 & 3 Box Set September 10, 2007 (2007-09-10) 9 1646 mins Contender
Home Entertainment
Coast: Series 1, 2, 3 & 4 Box Set August 24, 2009 (2009-08-24) 12 2126 mins E1
Coast: Series 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 Box Set July 4, 2011 (2011-07-04) 15 2506 mins E1

Series 1: 2005

The first series of Coast was originally aired on BBC2 during the summer of 2005. The series follows a circumnavigation of the coastline, starting and finishing in Dover.

Series main presenter, Nicholas Crane, remarks on more than one occasion during the series that it was a "once in a lifetime journey"[3] suggesting that Coast was originally planned as a one-off series. It is the only series yet, to include more than eight episodes. A review episode was shown on 2 September 2005, looking back over the series' highlights, and looking at the future of the coastline - this is not included in the DVD release for the series.

Title Directed by Written by[4] UK Ratings[2]
(BBC2 Rank)
Original Air Date
1 1 "Dover to Exmouth" Oliver Clark David Stafford 3.97m (4) July 22, 2005 (2005-07-22)
Dover's iconic chalk cliffs are the dramatic starting point for this epic exploration of Britain's 11,700 miles of coastline. Nicholas Crane investigates Martello towers - man-made defences on the south coast - and finds out how the "sound mirrors" built to warn of approaching enemy aircraft worked; Mark Horton reveals why Portsmouth became home to the Royal Navy; and Neil Oliver learns of a Nazi concentration camp in the Channel Islands
1 2 "Exmouth to Bristol" Jonathon Barker David Stafford 5.18m (1) July 24, 2005 (2005-07-24)
The South West of England bears the brunt of our worst storms, as Alice Roberts discovers when she investigates how human greed led to an entire village being washed into the sea. Meanwhile, Nicholas Crane unearths the little-known history of the slave trade in Plymouth, Mark Horton probes the origins of the Royal Mail, and Miranda Krestovnikoff comes face to face with the UK's only native shark - the porbeagle
1 3 "Bristol to Cardigan Bay" John Trefor David Stafford 3.98m (3) July 29, 2005 (2005-07-29)
For thousands of years, the world's second greatest tidal range has had a huge impact on the inhabitants of the South Wales coast. Neil Oliver uncovers real-life horror at the Smalls Lighthouse, Mark Horton explores the terrifying power of sand, Alice Roberts seeks out our Ice Age ancestor and Miranda Krestovnikoff reveals the secrets of rockpools. Plus a chance to witness a dramatic natural spectacle: the Severn Bore. 
1 4 "Cardigan Bay to the Dee" John Trefor David Stafford 5.02m (1) July 31, 2005 (2005-07-31)
Nicholas Crane journeys from Cardigan Bay in Ceredigion to the English/Welsh border via the seaside resort of Llandudno. Along the way he hears the heroic story of how two bridges were built across the treacherous Menai Strait. Meanwhile, anthropologist Alice Roberts explores the biggest prehistoric copper mine in the world, historian Neil Oliver unearths a Welsh Atlantis, and zoologist Miranda Krestovnikoff goes in search of the elusive leatherback turtles. 
1 5 "Liverpool to the Solway Firth" Nigel Walk David Stafford 3.95m (3) August 5, 2005 (2005-08-05)
Nicholas Crane visits Lytham St Anne's, site of the worst lifeboat disaster in British history, while Alice Roberts relates the discovery of 5,000-year-old human footprints on a beach near Liverpool. Neil Oliver experiences the dangerous quicksands of Morecambe Bay and Mark Horton takes a look at the coastal defences at the end of Hadrian's Wall, once the outer edge of the Roman empire. 
1 6 "The Northern Ireland Coast" Roger Ford-Hutchinson David Stafford 4.09m (2) August 7, 2005 (2005-08-07)
Beautiful but troubled, Northern Ireland's coast has had a turbulent history for more than 2,000 years. Nicholas Crane et al take in the history as they cycle Antrim's scenic Coast Road, dive Strangford Lough - the largest sea lough on the island Ireland, home to 2,000 marine species - and, in a visit to one of the country's most popular tourist attractions, step across the Giant's Causeway
1 7 "The West Coast of Scotland and Western Isles" Jane McWilliams David Stafford 4.25m (1) August 12, 2005 (2005-08-12)
Nicholas Crane begins his exploration of Scotland's west coast aboard the yacht Crunneaig, Alice Roberts joins the launch of a warship and Neil Oliver goes below the waves on a submarine. Meanwhile, Mark Horton feels the force of a noted whirlpool and Miranda Krestovnikoff searches for the elusive minke whale. Later, Neil Oliver and Mark Horton have a go at re-creating a novel interpretation of "air mail" between the islands of Scarp and Harris
1 8 "Cape Wrath to Orkney" Paul Overton David Stafford 4.12m (2) August 14, 2005 (2005-08-14)
Beginning his journey at the most north-westerly point of the British mainland - Cape Wrath - Nicholas Crane finds this uninhabited wilderness a hub of military activity. He also experiences the full impact of the region's storms as a Stornoway coastguard. Alice Roberts visits the site of the Dounreay nuclear power station, and local people explain how the impact of the Highland Clearances can still be felt even today. 
1 9 "John o'Groats to Berwick" Paul Overton David Stafford 4.14m (2) August 19, 2005 (2005-08-19)
Nicholas Crane begins his journey at John o'Groats, the village farthest from Land's End. At Cruden Bay he sees the impact made years ago by the discovery of North Sea oil. Meanwhile, Miranda Krestovnikoff observes bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth, Neil Oliver meets two generations of a fishing family to learn of their hopes and fears for the industry, and Alice Roberts finds out about life on board a whaling ship. 
1 10 "Berwick to Robin Hood's Bay" Oliver Clark David Stafford 4.43m (1) August 21, 2005 (2005-08-21)
Nicholas Crane unearths Berwick-upon-Tweed's violent past and Mark Horton explores Bamburgh Castle, once the royal seat of the Kingdom of Northumbria. Alice Roberts joins a project to rebuild a Stone Age settlement and Miranda Krestovnikoff visits a thriving colony of grey seals. Plus a trip to Lindisfarne and, as this leg of the journey comes to an end in Whitby, the team reveal how Bram Stoker was inspired to write Dracula there. 
1 11 "Robin Hood's Bay to the Wash" Jonathan Barker David Stafford 4.91m (1) August 26, 2005 (2005-08-26)
Alice Roberts visits Ravenscar to watch chemists re-create the alum crystals once produced in the area. Neil Oliver looks back on Scarborough's long-standing popularity as a seaside resort, then pays a visit to the first Butlins resort at Skegness. Meanwhile, Mark Horton takes to the water in a replica of a Bronze Age boat, Nicholas Crane recalls the advent of the fish finger, and Miranda Krestovnikoff finds out more about the Wash. 
1 12 "The Wash to Dover" Nigel Walk David Stafford 3.92m (2) August 28, 2005 (2005-08-28)
In East Anglia, Alice Roberts finds evidence of Britain's Ice Age landbridge to Europe, Nicholas Crane meets a modern-day King Canute fighting to prevent his home from falling into the sea and Neil Oliver uncovers an eyewitness account from the heart of the Battle of Trafalgar. Mark Horton, meanwhile, chats to an architectural historian about the colourful beach huts which are a popular aspect of the British coastline. 
1 13 "The Future Coast" ? ? 3.97m (1) September 2, 2005 (2005-09-02)
A chance to see some of the best bits of the series, plus a look to the future to see how Britain's coastline might alter. What will be the effects of climate change, and could the coast become the country's powerhouse, with wind turbines dominating the skyline? What measures are we taking to protect the creatures that live in our waters? And just how much of our coastline is actually open to the public?
NB. This episode is not included in the DVD release for the series. 

Series 2: 2006

The second series of Coast was originally aired on BBC2 during the autumn of 2006. Whilst the series starts in Dover and finishes in nearby Margate, it does not follow same circular journey of the previous series. It is the first series to feature the Republic of Ireland.

The subtitle of the series is The Journey Continues.

Title Directed by Written by UK Ratings[2]
(BBC2 Rank)
Original air date
2 1 "Dover to the Isle of Wight" Oliver Clark n/a 4.17m (2) October 26, 2006 (2006-10-26)
Historian Neil Oliver investigates the Victorian channel tunnel, anthropologist Alice Roberts heads for the Isle of Wight's forgotten space rocket testing site, and geographer Nicholas Crane dangles from Beachy Head to discover how the chalk coast was formed - and why it's disappearing. Mark Horton probes Southampton's claim to be the oldest active port, while Miranda Krestovnikoff explores the flora and fauna living on and around chalk ledges on the seabed. 
2 2 "Holyhead to Liverpool" John Trefor n/a 3.45m (2) November 2, 2006 (2006-11-02)
On the rugged north Wales coast, we meet one of the longest living animals, learn how a shipwrecked child changed the way we practice medicine and reveal how pebbles make detectives of us all. Farther along, we find out how, in 1826, messages were sent from Holyhead to Liverpool in mere seconds. Meanwhile, Neil Oliver is fascinated by a strange cave on the cliffs of the Great Orme
2 3 "Arran to Gretna" Matt Barrett n/a 3.98m (2) November 9, 2006 (2006-11-09)
A trip along Scotland's south west coast, from the jagged mountains of Arran to the English border at Gretna. The team visit the sand dunes where Alfred Nobel created the world's largest explosives factory. Plus the only place in the UK visited by Elvis Presley, the most southerly point in Scotland, the vast windswept mudflats of the Solway Firth - and the World Flounder Tramping Championships. 
2 4 "Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly" Nicky Taylor n/a 4.18m (1) November 16, 2006 (2006-11-16)
Cables beneath a Cornish beach lead to a dramatic tale of the birth of radio, espionage, and greed. Mark Horton visits the Isles of Scilly to reveal ancient tombs on these "isles of the dead". Miranda Krestovnikoff discovers how nature can turn a shipwreck into a sanctuary for wildlife, and Alice Roberts investigates the Cornish light that has inspired generations of artists. Plus Britain's smallest football league
2 5 "Dublin to Derry" Roger Ford-Hutchinson n/a 3.74m (2) November 23, 2006 (2006-11-23)
How the sea has shaped the island that is Ireland - both North and South. Miranda Krestovnikoff joins the punters at a unique horse race by the sea, while Mark Horton investigates the salvage of the SS Great Britain, the world's first ocean liner. Neil Oliver finds an eyewitness to the untold story of the surrender at Derry of the German U-boat fleet, and Alice Roberts visits a very unusual house. 
2 6 "Newcastle to Hull" Richard Maude n/a 3.73m (2) November 30, 2006 (2006-11-30)
Neil Oliver explores the ancient coastal home of the Venerable Bede who, 1,300 years ago, wrote the first history of England. Meanwhile, Dick Strawbridge discovers how Middlesbrough's iconic Transporter Bridge put the town on the map, and Miranda Krestovnikoff learns about the kittiwake. Plus Alice Roberts finds out where North Sea gas first came ashore, and uncovers the secrets of Whitby jet
2 7 "The Outer Hebrides" Jane McWilliams n/a 3.85m (1) December 7, 2006 (2006-12-07)
The hauntingly beautiful Mingulay, abandoned 100 years ago, is among some dramatic islands on view in this episode. Miranda Krestovnikoff visits Eriskay to unearth the true story behind the classic Ealing comedy Whisky Galore! Neil Oliver meets the man who embarked on a 750-mile kayak trip from Glasgow to the Outer Hebrides. And on Lewis, scientist Mike Bullivant re-creates an attempt to convert peat into oil. 
2 8 "Felixstowe to Margate" Jason Holmes n/a 3.92m (1) December 14, 2006 (2006-12-14)
Neil Oliver explores the wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery in the Thames estuary that could explode with a force that would devastate the coast. Alice Roberts savours the sea salt at Maldon, and Miranda Krestovnikoff goes in search of the thornback ray, an exotic species that feeds on the seabed close to the capital. Mark Horton digs into the seafaring history of London and Neil Oliver re-creates a remarkable cricket match. 

Series 3: 2007

The third series of Coast was originally aired on BBC2 during the summer of 2007. In common with the previous series, the journey does not follow a circular course; the series starts in Shetland and finishes in Dover.

The subtitle of the series is A Journey of Discovery.

Title Directed by Written by UK Ratings[2]
(BBC2 Rank)
Original air date
3 1 "Shetland to Orkney" Eleanor Horne n/a 3.67m (3) June 3, 2007 (2007-06-03)
Neil Oliver joins an expedition climbing the Old Man of Hoy in Orkney and finds out about the Second World War freedom fighters who risked their lives running the "Shetland Bus". Miranda Krestovnikoff goes in search of an elusive octopus, Nicholas Crane finds evidence of a tsunami that devastated Britain 7,000 years ago and Alice Roberts unearths a mysterious skeleton that reveals more about the lives of ancient Shetlanders. 
3 2 "Bournemouth to Plymouth" Paul Barnett n/a 4.35m (1) June 10, 2007 (2007-06-10)
Journeying along the coast from Bournemouth to Plymouth, Neil Oliver finds out about the building of Britain's most famous lighthouse on the perilous Eddystone rocks. Meanwhile, Alice Roberts investigates the secret formula for the perfect sandcastle and Dick Strawbridge joins an American serviceman on his emotional return to the beach where he was left for dead during the Second World War's secret, and disastrous, Operation Tiger
3 3 "Southport to Whitehaven including the Isle of Man" Dick Sharman n/a 3.43m (6) June 17, 2007 (2007-06-17)
In the north-west of England, Neil Oliver discovers why the Americans attacked the port of Whitehaven, Hermione Cockburn investigates the alarming rate that the Southport sands are disappearing into the sea, and Miranda Krestovnikoff goes in search of the biggest shark in British waters. Meanwhile, Alice Roberts meets a woman with a remarkable story of childhood in the Isle of Man's internment camps during the Second World War. 
3 4 "Cardiff to St. David's" Jason Holmes &
Richard Trayler-Smith
n/a 4.01m (1) June 24, 2007 (2007-06-24)
Neil Oliver goes along for the ride as "Babs", the 1920s land speed record-breaking car, returns to Pendine Sands, and Miranda Krestovnikoff finds out about the dolphins raising their young along the Welsh coast. Meanwhile, Alice Roberts's excursion in a dredger might give ambitious homeowners food for thought, as she learns how the removal of sand from the seabed - to be used on building sites and in garden makeovers - is depleting a precious resource. 
3 5 "Berwick-upon-Tweed to Aberdeen" Matt Barrett n/a 2.93m (1) July 1, 2007 (2007-07-01)
Miranda Krestovnikoff puts St Abbs' reputation as one of the foremost sites for underwater wildlife to the test as she dives into a marine reserve there. Alice Roberts finds out how the experts propose to save the Forth Road Bridge from the looming threat of rust, while Neil Oliver re-creates a wartime scheme which involved training sea birds to find German submarines
3 6 "Galway to Baltimore" John Trefor n/a 2.94m (4) July 24, 2007 (2007-07-24)
For the first time, the experts visit the west coast of Ireland. Neil Oliver discovers what prompted Columbus's voyage to America, as Miranda Krestovnikoff listens in on some dolphin conversations. Meanwhile, Alice Roberts investigates the perplexing mystery of "The Burren", where Arctic and Mediterranean plants grow alongside each other, then sails out to the mystical monastery on the island of Skellig Michael
3 7 "King's Lynn to Felixstowe" Oliver Clark n/a 2.97m (2) July 31, 2007 (2007-07-31)
Neil Oliver evokes memories of the Cold War as he explores an abandoned radar site, while Hermione Cockburn meets a woman who was involved in top-secret work during the Second World War. As Mike Horton reveals the perilous state of some seaside piers, Alice Roberts indulges her interest in art when she visits Southwold, a Suffolk town which has inspired numerous painters in their artistic endeavours. 
3 8 "The Channel Islands to Dover" Andrea Buffery n/a 3.37m (1) August 7, 2007 (2007-08-07)
Neil Oliver recounts the tragic tale of Captain Matthew Webb, the first man to swim the English Channel. Alice Roberts finds out how Jersey reinvented itself after the Nazi occupation, while Nicholas Crane remembers the coastal supply ships that kept Britain afloat during the Second World War. And Miranda Krestovnikoff visits the Gouliot caves on Sark, where sea creatures stranded during low tide fight to survive until the water returns to claim them. 

Series 4: 2009

The fourth series of Coast was originally aired on BBC2 during the summer of 2009. It was simulcast on BBC HD for the first time. The series visits foreign shores for the first time: France, the Faroe Islands, and Norway are all included due to the fact they share a connection to the UK coastline. The circular element of the journey, last seen in the first series, returns; starting in Whitstable and finishing in Hull.

Unlike the last two series, there is no series subtitle, however the series was renamed to Coast and Beyond - helping to signify that the journey takes in coastlines outside the British Isles.

Title Directed by Written by UK Ratings[2]
(BBC2 Rank)
Original air date
4 1 "Whitstable to the Isle of Wight" David Symonds n/a 3.68m (2) July 14, 2009 (2009-07-14)
The south coast of England was the home of movies long before a frame was shot in Hollywood, thanks to long hours of daylight and glamorous London actors holidaying by the sea. Neil Oliver tries his hand at directing his own silent movie. Alice Roberts re-lives the glamour days of the hovercraft and on the Isle of Wight, we go in search of dinosaur footprints which prove the island has been on an epic voyage heading north from tropical climes 135 million years ago. 
4 2 "France: Cap Gris-Nez to Mont-Saint-Michel" David Symonds n/a 3.34m (3) July 21, 2009 (2009-07-21)
Castles are an integral part of the history and landscape of Britain, but the art of building a castle was brought across the channel by William the Conqueror. We visit the medieval quarry in France which supplied the stone for iconic buildings such as the Tower of London and Canterbury Cathedral. Nick Crane sets sail from Dover to visit the white cliffs of France. Connected by land before a mega flood carved the channel, Nick discovers that these divided cliffs are facing parallel challenges of coastal erosion. 
4 3 "Land's End to Porthcawl" Marc Edwards n/a 3.45m (2) July 28, 2009 (2009-07-28)
3,500 years ago, an international demand for Cornish tin put Cornwall at the centre of an internation arms trade. Mixed with copper, Cornish tin made high quality weapons, giving birth to the British Bronze Age. Hermione Cockburn discovers what happened when American media mogul and inspiration for Citizen Kane William Randolph Hearst, made a run-down castle with a sea view into a little hideaway for him and his mistress on the Welsh coast. Neil Oliver visits Porthcawl to trace the history of the Welsh Great Escape
4 4 "Cork to Dublin" John Trefor n/a 3.56m (2) August 4, 2009 (2009-08-04)
We visit Cork Harbour, Titanic's last port of call before sailing to disaster, to hear the story of one lucky Irish passenger who had to reluctantly disembark at Cork. Alice Roberts meets Waterford Crystal's chief scientist to learn how to turn the local beach's sand into glass. Hermione Cockburn creates her own mini earthquake on Killiney beach with a mercury dish and some dynamite, recreating an experiment performed 160 years ago that led to the understanding of the earth's tectonic plates. 
4 5 "Anglesey to Blackpool" Paul Barnett n/a 3.41m (1) August 11, 2009 (2009-08-11)
Blackpool is Britain's most visited seaside destination. How has the resort succeeded when others have gone under? The pleasure park is one of many innovative attractions imported here from America. Neil Oliver views the coast at high speed with a visit to the RAF's world famous "Pilot Factory". As he takes to the skies in a Hawk Jet with an instructor, can he travel from Anglesey to Blackpool and back in just under half an hour? 
4 6 "Inner Hebrides to the Faroe Islands" Lizzie Mottram n/a 3.66m (1) August 18, 2009 (2009-08-18)
The Sea Eagles of the island of Canna were hunted to extinction, but now they have been brought back. We climb into one of their nests perched high on a steep cliff to find out what their chances of survival are. Neil Oliver visits Europe's biggest super-quarry to receive an explosive lesson in how the rock is mined. Armed with a simple ruler on a Scottish beach, Nick Crane learns how the challenge of measuring our coastline led to a new branch of maths that could help our mobile phones get smaller. 
4 7 "Norway: Lillesand to Svalbard" Amanda Reilly n/a 3.66m (2) August 25, 2009 (2009-08-25)
In Coast's Norwegian odyssey we explore how the Ice Age is still affecting Norwegians today; a collapsing mountainside threatens to thunder down into one of the country's most beautiful fjord's creating a devastating tsunami. Nick Crane visits the little town of Geiranger which sits in the path of the impending tidal wave. 
4 8 "Rosyth to Hull" Dick Sharman n/a 3.92m (2) September 1, 2009 (2009-09-01)
On Holy Island, we find out how a Viking attach inadvertently united the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, creating a new national identity as they came together to resist a new enemy. Mark Horton navigates to Marine Esplanade in Ravenscar in search of the "town that never was". Destined to be a buzzing Victorian seaside parade, Mark uncovers why it is now just an empty field. Following three unsuccessful attempts to land a boat on Bass Rock, Miranda Krestovnikoff beats Neil Oliver to the challenge and is rewarded with a front row view of the diving gannets. 

Series 5: 2010

The fifth series of Coast was originally aired on BBC2 during the summer of 2010. It was simulcast on BBC HD. The series visits both France (for the second time) and Denmark (for the first time) exploring how these countries are linked to our own via the sea. The series opens with a unique journey around the Irish Sea centred on the Isle of Man; in the remaining episodes a rough circumnavigation is completed from Swanage to London.

As with the previous series, the name Coast and Beyond is retained - helping to signify that the journey takes in coastlines outside the British Isles.

Title Directed by Written by UK Ratings[2]
(BBC2 Rank)
Original air date
5 1 "Heart of the British Isles: A Grand Tour" Jane McWilliams n/a 3.39m (2) July 25, 2010 (2010-07-25)
In this first episode the team embark on an extraordinary circular tour of the Irish Sea to visit every country and territory within the United Kingdom. The hub for this wheel around the heart of the British Isles is the Isle of Man where Neil Oliver explores the small island. On the edge of the Irish Sea at Morecambe Bay, Alice Roberts gets trapped in quicksand to discover why it is so sticky and so deadly. In Northern Ireland, Miranda Krestovnikoff sees how seals cope with the struggle to find food as they bring up pups in the beautiful inland sea of Strangford Lough. Nick Crane goes sea cliff climbing on the remarkable rocks of Anglesey as he explores why this corner of North Wales is the site of some of Britain's biggest earthquakes. 
5 2 "Swanage to Land's End" Jason Holmes n/a 2.88m (5) July 28, 2010 (2010-07-28)
Neil Oliver performs the lead role in an extract from Shakespeare’s "The Tempest" on the stage of a remarkable coastal amphitheatre near Land's End. Nick Crane ventures out into the infamous "Portland Tidal Race" to see how this fearsome tidal surge creates some of the roughest waters in Britain, surprisingly close to the tourist beaches and Georgian splendour of Weymouth. Miranda Krestovnikoff goes in search of a family of White-Beaked Dolphins and Alice Roberts follows her nose to discover what gives the sea its distinctive smell. In Devonport, Mark Horton has privileged access to the historic dockyards to see where the wooden ships of Nelson’s Navy were built. Mark reveals how the steel fleet of the modern Royal Navy still relies on the age old skills of wood working. 
5 3 "Brittany" David Symonds n/a 2.54m (6) August 4, 2010 (2010-08-04)
Neil Oliver explores the province of Finistère, "The End of the Earth", and meets a lighthouse keeper made famous by one of the world's most reproduced photographs. Nick Crane joins the "Onion Johnnies", who gave us our stereotypical image of a Frenchman, complete with stripy tee shirt, beret and bicycle laden with onions. Alice Roberts reveals the life saving chemical element that's locked away inside seaweed and Miranda Krestovnikoff dives for a seafood delicacy. At Carnac, Mark Horton wanders amongst the mysterious lines of standing stones, erected thousands of years before Stonehenge, to investigate their age old connection with Britain. 
5 4 "Gower to Anglesey" Marc Edwards n/a 2.79m (4) August 8, 2010 (2010-08-08)
Neil Oliver takes part in an aerial dogfight to discover why a Nazi flying ace landed his top secret new plane on Welsh tarmac at the height of the Second World War. Miranda Krestovnikoff visits a seabird paradise, the magical island of Skomer, and at Porth Oer, Alice Roberts attempts to solve the riddle of the "Singing Sands". What makes some very special British beaches whistle when you walk on them? Mark Horton visits and imposing castle at Harlech, one of the best preserved in Britain. Nick Crane explores the violent history of smuggling around the gorgeous Gower Peninsula and abseils into an extraordinary stone structure concealed in the side of a sea cliff. 
5 5 "Galway to Arranmore Island" Chris Rushton n/a 2.23m (7) August 11, 2010 (2010-08-11)
Just five months before President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, he was riding in an open top limo through the crowded streets of Galway. Neil Oliver meets the photographer who managed to get up close and personal with the President and talk him into the perfect snap. Miranda Krestovnikoff explores an odd little island where the mountain hare population is thriving and Nick Crane investigates a local legend that says that Clew Bay has 365 islands, one for each day of the year. Alice Roberts unearths the remarkable remains of the oldest farm in the British Isles
5 6 "Glasgow to Edinburgh via the Caledonian Canal" Amanda Reilly &
Matt Barrett
n/a 2.84m (3) August 18, 2010 (2010-08-18)
Neil Oliver joins the crew of the last surviving coal fired, steam-powered, "Clyde Puffer". Amateur artist Alice Roberts explores what drew Joan Eardley to Catterline and how her life was cut tragically short on the verge of great success. Nick Crane reveals how the majestic Loch Ness became part of Britain's biggest building project in the early 1900s. Miranda Krestovnikoff dives into Loch Creran to explore how the tiny worms built a giant reef known as Worm City. Hermione Cockburn visits the "Islands that Roofed the World" and Mark Horton unearths what remains of the mysterious and violent people who once ruled much of Scotland, the Picts
5 7 "Denmark" Mike Taylor n/a 2.94m (4) August 25, 2010 (2010-08-25)
The Danes top the polls as the happiest people on earth and Neil Oliver wants to know what they have to smile about. Nick Crane investigates how the Danish made a big business out of selling bacon to Britain. Alice Roberts sets sail in a full scale replica of a Viking longship to see how these ships gave Norsemen the advantage over the English in battle. Miranda Krestovnikoff meets some unflappable red deer. On Heligoland, Mark Horton reveals how in 1947 Britain's Royal Navy blew this tiny island apart in the largest non-nuclear explosion the world had ever seen and Dick Strawbridge gets access to the construction of one of the world's largest offshore wind farms. 
5 8 "Hull to London" Joanna Brame n/a 3.42m (1) September 1, 2010 (2010-09-01)
Neil Oliver visits the birth place of his seafaring hero Lord Nelson. On the eerie shingle bank of Orford Ness, Alice Roberts leads a team trying to recreate the original war-winning experiment which proved that Radar would work. Off the Norfolk coast, Nick Crane explored the remarkable lost world of "Doggerland". Miranda Krestovnikoff wades out into the mud of the Wash", a vast tidal feeding ground for migrating birds. To investigate the appeal of the glorious Essex Fishing Smacks, Mark Horton joins a crew on competition around the Thames Estuary

Series 6: 2011

The sixth series of Coast was originally aired on BBC2 during the summer of 2011. It was simulcast on BBC HD. The series visits Belgium, the Netherlands and Sweden (all for the first time) exploring how these countries are linked to our own via the sea. The series does not follow a circular course, beginning in London and ending in Sweden.

As with the previous two series', the name Coast and Beyond is retained - helping to signify that the journey takes in coastlines outside the British Isles.

Title Directed by Written by UK Ratings[3]
(BBC2 Rank)
Original air date
6 1 "London to Antwerp" TBC TBC 1.96m (16) June 5, 2011 (2011-06-05)
The latest adventure begins in the historic heart of London, continues along the south coast of England and out across the channel to explore the curious coast of Belgium. Nick Crane discovers why the world's biggest cargo ships are on course for London before crossing the channel to Belgium; he rides one of the longest tramways in the world, and investigates how a beautiful seaside resort became the base for Albert Einstein's battle against Nazi tyranny. Neil Oliver reveals the remarkable tale of Hitler's audacious gamble in 1942, when his biggest battleships steamed straight along the English Channel in broad daylight. Alice Roberts uncovers the surprising story behind the rise and fall of the seaside landlady. In the fabulously preserved medieval city of Bruges Mark Horton unearths why our ancestors came there 700 years ago to re-discover the forgotten art of making bricks. Plus, Miranda Krestovnikoff is on the Belgian coast to meet the last few men who still use heavy horses to fish for shrimp
6 2 "Devon and Cornwall" TBC TBC 3.05m (6) June 26, 2011 (2011-06-26)[5]
The team's journey continues around the stunning shores of Devon and Cornwall. Nick Crane is on a fishing expedition on board one of the last remaining Brixham trawlers. He also explores how Henry VIII, fearing attack after his famous divorce, built a string of cleverly positioned forts all along the south coast. The Isles of Scilly are surrounded by lush, golden green underwater meadows of seagrass; Miranda Krestovnikoff explores the diverse wildlife of this natural sub-sea paradise. Mark Horton reveals the extraordinary story of how Lawrence of Arabia went to Plymouth, where he helped develop revolutionary fast rescue boats that saved countless lives in the Second World War. Dick Strawbridge learns the surprising secrets of the global steam power revolution pioneered in the tin mines of Cornwall some 200 years ago. And with the aid of some big wind machines, Alice Roberts creates her own perfect storm
6 3 "The Netherlands" TBC TBC 2.16m (12) June 19, 2011 (2011-06-19)
Coast ventures out to brand new territory, the astonishing man-made shoreline of the Netherlands. Nick Crane explores how ingenious Dutch engineers created massive coastal defences like no others on earth following the great North Sea flood in 1953 which killed thousands of people in the Netherlands and Britain. Nick also discovers how, during the Second World War, traitors from the British Indian Army took part in the Nazi occupation of the tiny isle of Texel - the unlikely site for the last battle in Europe of the Second World War. Coast newcomer, historian Tessa Dunlop, is on the trail of Tulipmania, the extraordinary trade in tulip bulbs that's said to have nearly bankrupted the Dutch nation nearly 400 years ago. Mark Horton reveals the age old skills that have made the Dutch the Grand Masters at creating new living space from the sea. Adam Henson, himself a farmer, investigates why cows from the coastal plains of the northern Netherlands became the most sought after milk producers in the world, and one of the most familiar sights in the British countryside. Miranda Krestovnikoff experiences how the Dutch delight in devouring raw herring as a sea side snack! 
6 4 "The Western Isles and Shetland" TBC TBC 2.94m (5) July 3, 2011 (2011-07-03)
Coast embarks on an island-hopping adventure in Scotland around the stunning Western Isles and out to the northern outpost of Shetland. On Eriskay, Nick has a close encounter with a family of dolphins and he is invited to a golden wedding anniversary where the whole island gather to party. On the Isle of Lewis, Nick meets the leader of the Guga Hunters, a small band of men following the age-old tradition of catching young gannets. Neil Oliver explores the tragic shipwreck of the Iolaire. On New Year's Eve 1918, over 200 servicemen returning home from the First World War, drowned within sight of their homes on the Isle of Lewis as the Iolaire was torn apart in ferocious seas. Hermione Cockburn is on an expedition to Staffa. Armed with an acoustics expert, a violinist, and a starting pistol, she conducts a curious experiment to explore the remarkable musical quality of Fingal's Cave. Miranda Krestovnikoff is on Shetland to search for the shy otters who struggle to survive on this wild coast. Tessa Dunlop is on a deep-sea survey ship to see how the epic voyage of HMS Challenger first revealed the astonishing secrets of life in the depths of the world's oceans. 
6 5 "Wales: Border to Border" TBC TBC 2.27m (5) July 10, 2011 (2011-07-10)
Coast travels right around the wonderful Welsh coast from the Severn estuary, to the Dee estuary. Nick Crane investigates the evidence that a devastating tsunami crashed on to the coast of Wales and England some 400 years ago. Villages were wiped off the map and thousands died, leaving the survivors to believe they had suffered the judgement of God; but was it a tidal wave that was to blame? Nick also discovers why scientists planning an expedition to the Red Planet find the Welsh coast a surprisingly good stand-in for the surface of Mars. Alice Roberts attempts to get airborne with just helium balloons attached to her waist as she tests the claim that the world's first powered flight was actually made by a Welsh carpenter. Meanwhile, Miranda Krestovnikoff lands where few people ever tread - on Grassholm; an extraordinary island normally kept exclusively for the birds. In 1947 two brothers were on holiday on Anglesey when one sketched a rough notion in the sand for a completely new kind of vehicle - Dick Strawbridge explores how that coastal blueprint became the plan for the Land Rover. Plus Tessa Dunlop reveals how some 30 years ago an army of local volunteers managed to keep 3,000 Asians, who had been expelled from Uganda, warm and well-fed in an abandoned military base during a Welsh seaside winter. 
6 6 "Sweden and The Baltic Sea" TBC TBC 2.34m (7) July 17, 2011 (2011-07-17)
For centuries Britons have charted a course to the glorious coast of Sweden for its treasure trove of riches, now for the first time Coast explores the British connections to this stunning shore on the edge of the Baltic Sea. Nick Crane's journey starts in one of the most picturesque parts of Sweden, the dramatic peaks of the High Coast are a wonder of the world and, remarkably, the mountains are still growing at the rate of one centimetre every year. Nick also finds out why Britain's early engineers had to come to Sweden for iron to help forge our Industrial Revolution. Alice Roberts explores the extraordinary story of how, during the Second World War, Britain's military effort almost ground to a halt without Swedish ball bearings and how brave British servicemen beat the German blockade of the country. Mark Horton visits the world's most remarkable shipwreck, The Vasa, which has been called the Tutankhamun of maritime archaeology. Dick Strawbridge climbs the rigging of one of the last great commercial sailing ships, known as the Windjammers. As recently as the 1940s these tall ships managed to give steamships a run for their money. Dick discovers how in the days of Empire, the Windjammers connected Britain to Australia with their legendary grain races. The team also explore Abba Island and search out moose in Sweden's frozen North. 

Series 7: Future

The BBC have started filming Coast series 7


  1. ^ This closing narration was part of a promotion for the tie-in BBC-sponsored walks and accompanying booklet, and was removed from many of the repeat showings.
  2. ^ Series 1 Episode 13 was broadcast as a series' highlight programme which also looking at the future of the coastline. The episode is not included in the DVD release for the series.
  3. ^ First mentioned in the introduction of Series 1 Episode 1.
  4. ^ The credit for "Additional Writing by..." only appears on episodes shown in series one.
  5. ^ Series 6 Episode 2 was broadcast the week after Episode 3 due to over-running coverage of the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB). Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  3. ^ "Weekly Top 30 Programmes". Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB). Retrieved 2011-08-06. 
General References

External links

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