I’M A CERTIFIED wimp about cold water, so the British coast has never seemed particularly tempting to me.
Still, thanks to Ross Kemp and his team of bantering explorers, I’ve seen the mysterious deeps around these isles with new eyes.
Ross is fast approaching national treasure status himself. The actor, author and award-winning documentarian is today best known for his work with inner-city gangs.
But his latest adventure takes him to a totally new environment to shed light on British maritime history, and the results are unmissable.
Peppered with historical detail and powerful personal narratives, the treasures they’re hunting for aren’t jewels or riches but glimpses into the past.
Ross says: “Every shipwreck I’ve dived has a story to tell, tales that echo from our past into the present. They speak to us of bravery, sacrifice and progress, but also of cruelty and heartbreak.”
Sold? All episodes are available on Sky HISTORY from 9pm tonight for inevitable binge watching.
And if all that’s not enough to tempt you, here are five reasons not to miss Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter…
A new perspective on history
I’d never considered the waters around the UK to be of archaeological interest, but in fact they hold countless artefacts that provide insight into wartime mysteries.
The wrecks the teams dive are unexplored time capsules, offering clues to what life was like on board these magnificent vessels.
From artefacts with personal significance to discoveries that reveal why some of these ships’ brave crews never
Seventy-one per cent of the Earth’s surface is covered by water, but it’s an environment inaccessible to most of us landlubbers.
Here, as the cameras plunge deep beneath the surface, we experience the British Isles in a brand new way.
Long-sunken battleships are transformed into strange habitats for aquatic life – spectacular natural environments many of us will never see first hand.
Ross puts it best: “There’s something incredibly tranquil about being beneath the waves; you move differently, you feel differently, and it’s sort of made me feel at peace with myself.”
After far too much time trapped in my living room, I long for my weekly escape into the depths – albeit while still on my sofa!
In the first episode, we follow Ross as he undergoes an intensive two-month scuba training course to prepare him for the variety of unusual, even life-threatening challenges he will encounter while exploring these beautiful but treacherous wrecks.
While the dive team are world-class experts who never shirk on safety, the ocean is a cruel and unpredictable environment.
From equipment failure to perilously fast-turning tides, a sense of danger is never far away, as the team risk their lives for the sake of exploration.
Ross is known as a “hardman”, and never one to be scared off by the risk, but this show may present him with his toughest test to date.
Your new TV crushes
Move over Paul Hollywood, our new TV crushes are hitting the screen.
While Ross has long had a personal following, he’s joined by expert diver Emily Turton, maritime archaeologist Mallory Haas and dive supervisor Neil Brock, always ready with a wry joke.
The three of them have such buoyant chemistry that it’s a wonder they manage to sink at all, and part of the joy of the show is watching their team camaraderie as they encounter obstacles and artefacts.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be dying to join the team, and by the time they raise a glass in a final toast, it’ll be enough to have you googling dive teams in your area.
The personal connection
More than just great TV, this is a very personal quest for Ross, and he often turns heartfelt as he discusses his family’s connection with the ocean. His grandad, “Pop” Chalmers, was a Merchant Marine during World War Two and was shipwrecked and survived not once but twice.
Two other family members met their fate aboard HMS Hood, a wreck that Ross goes on to dive.
It’s clear how much this means to him, inviting us to join him as he fulfils a lifelong ambition to reach back into his family’s tragic history.
The show is the perfect mix of high stakes and personal connection, reminding us of the history in the waters around us.
These shipwrecks are a testament to the brave young men who fought and often died on board, and exploring their mysteries is an essential part of remembering our history – the good and the bad.
But, as the team floats through the tranquil blue down to the seabed, I can’t help but agree with Ross – I can think of worse places to rest.
Watch all episodes of Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter from 9pm tonight on Sky HISTORY
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