OU/BBC
16 Jun 2009

Coast and beyond: series four sails back onto the BBC

The Coast team are back for series four

The Coast team are back for series four

TX: Tuesday 14 July, 8pm, BBC TWO

The BAFTA award-winning series that re-awakened the nation’s love affair with the British coastline is back for a fourth series – and this time, as well as revealing brand new secrets from our own shores, it’s breaking new ground exploring the coast of Northern France and Norway. Across eight episodes, this series of Coast - co-produced by The Open University and the BBC - will be packed with intriguing anecdotes, untold stories and glorious scenery, shot throughout for the first time in HD.

The team of expert presenters, led by Neil Oliver, will travel to Normandy, Norway including Svalbard, ‘Polar Bear Island’, across to Ireland and venture far north to the Danish Faroe Islands. They’ll be exploring the physical connections from when our land mass was at one with the rest of Europe and look at the enduring cultural, economic, linguistic and wartime links Britain has had with these nations across the centuries.

Bill Lyons, Executive Producer, explains more about the new series: ”Coast continues to celebrate the unique character of the British Isles, through our relationship with the seas that surround us. For the first time, though, we'll also be venturing across those seas, just like so many of our ancestors, to begin to explore the coastlines of the near neighbours with whom we enjoy shared connections. At home we'll be offering viewers still more fresh and surprising new stories, as well as the spectacular shots of well-loved shorelines around the UK that have become the Coast trademark. Abroad there'll be completely new landscapes and spectacular seascapes to celebrate - in the Faeroe Islands, Norway, Ireland and Normandy. This time round - in every way - we'll be asking our viewers to look with fresh eyes at our Coast - and beyond!”

Once again Coast promises fascinating features – Neil Oliver learns how silent movie pioneers in Brighton taught the world to make movies long before Hollywood shot a frame, Nick Crane learns how the ice that cut the fjords of Norway also sculpted our landscape; Dick Strawbridge discovers how geologists created a top secret map to stop the Allied D-Day invaders sinking into the sand; Hermione Cockburn goes in search of the Dublin-born father of modern earthquake science.

Hermione, also an Associate Lecturer with The Open University, said: ”The highlight of this series for me was undoubtedly the story about Robert Mallet, an Irish businessman who carried out scientific experiments into earthquakes in the mid 19th Century. He wanted to investigate how shock waves travelled through the earth and he did that by detonating an explosion on Killiney Beach near Dublin. Nearly 160 years later, Coast has recreated his experiment; needless to say it was great fun!”

Closer to home, Alice Roberts relives the glamour days of the British hovercraft and how it was invented with kitchen scales and a hairdryer!, Mark Horton makes soap the Victorian way in Port Sunlight, and Nick Crane learns how the challenge of measuring the UK coastline led to a new branch of maths – one which means our mobile phones can fit in our pockets. Miranda Krestovnikoff embarks on a UK beach safari and across the channel encounters French bats in unusual lodgings. Sea swimmer Kate Rew also joins to give a fresh perspective on our coastal waters.

Dr Wendy Maples, Senior Lecturer in Social Science at The Open University said: “Before working on Coast, I really had no idea there were quite so many story-filled nooks and crannies along the British coastline. I’ve found the range of stories contributed by the BBC’s producers and researchers and The Open University’s academic team brilliantly exciting and often eye-opening. There is nothing like Coast. It has been a wonderful, dynamic collaboration and I do feel that the end result is the BBC at its very best.”

Although this series goes further afield, presenter Neil Oliver says that, for him, Coast inspired a passion for Britain which he hopes viewers will share. He said: “Making Coast has been a life-changing experience for me. I love Britain – it’s beautiful, fascinating; a culturally, linguistically, historically rich country. For the casual observer, we tell enough about any given story that it’s a complete story, in a nutshell. But it is enough information hopefully to inspire some people to go off and find out more on their own.”

To accompany series four of Coast, The Open University has produced a free booklet focusing on themes from the series, available by calling 0845 300 8847, or you can explore an interactive version of the booklet on the website at open2.net/coast. For the latest from the production team, follow Coast on Twitter: http://twitter.com/coasttv.

The Open University is also opening up an online archive of iconic UK scenes and encouraging viewers to join them in mapping the nation’s contemporary heritage. Viewers can visit the website open2.net to upload videos and pictures of places, objects or practices than mean something to their sense of identity and community.

Editor’s Notes
For interviews, preview DVDs, images and further information contact Kath Hardwick
TX details: Tuesday 14 July, 8pm, BBC TWO. The Executive Producer is Bill Lyons; the Series Producer is Steve Evanson.
BBC Commissioning Executive for the Open University is Emma De’Ath.
The Broadcast Learning Executive for The Open University is Caroline Ogilvie.

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