The first episode of the new six-part primetime TV documentary series Secrets Of The Aquarium, which Divernet previewed in July, hits screens tonight (14 November) on BBC2 at 8pm and iPlayer.
Made over 18 months, it is set in Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium (NMA) with its 5,000 underwater residents. While aquariums are not always high among scuba divers’ priorities, the NMA is a little different – it is not only the UK’s biggest aquarium but it is run by the charity Ocean Conservation Trust, active in the field of seagrass restoration, and owns the nearby Scylla, the UK’s first shipwreck sunk for divers’ benefit.
The production company Hall of Mirrors spent a year filming behind the scenes at the NMA. Narrated by Joanna Scanlan, the opening episode looks at moving a “problem shark” to the top of the UK’s deepest tank, while a biologist diver builds a cave for a reclusive lobster and “Friday the turtle has his own difficult shark encounter”.
Subsequent episodes venture outside the confines of the aquarium to include the rehoming of a turtle from the Maldives, unforeseen problems of seagrass restoration and the launching of a mini-boat to cross the Atlantic to collect ocean data.