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Why the waters of the north-east have a special place in explorer Steve Backshall’s heart

Explore the world's oceans with Steve Backshall in his new show coming to the Music Hall in Aberdeen
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Renowned naturalist and explorer Steve Backshall has dived in oceans around the globe… but the lochs and sea waters around the north-east have a special place in his heart.

“My finest moments over the past year or so have been diving in Scottish waters,” said Steve, famed for his stunning TV shows, such as Deadly 60.

“It’s having the opportunity to dive and go looking for flapper skate mermaid purses, which are the size of a paperback novel and you can see the living creature inside, it’s the most miraculous thing on the bottom of Scottish sea lochs.

“It’s going diving, looking for basking sharks and glow-in-the-dark catsharks, being nose-to-nose with playful grey seals, with lion’s mane jellyfish and even a Portuguese man o’ war.”

Steve Backshall’s adventures have taken him around the world for TV series such as Deadly 60 and now he is bringing his Ocean show to the Music Hall.

And he will bring those experiences to the stage in his new show, Ocean, at the Music Hall in Aberdeen on Tuesday April 5.

Steve Backshall will bring the ocean to life in his Music Hall show

It’s his love letter to what he describes as the most exciting environment on our planet but one that we don’t appreciate – even those of us who have the rich, hidden world of the North Sea on our doorstep.

“I think it’s very difficult for anyone, even people who live by the coast, to properly appreciate the sea because so much of it is out of sight. Even if you’re a diver you rarely penetrate more than 30 metres below the surface and below that the sea is an unknown realm.

“It is often said we know more about the surface of the Moon than we do about our deep seas.”

But to bring that world – and the rest of the world’s seas and oceans to vibrant life – Steve is promising a thrilling evening at the Music Hall, combining stunts, experiments, props, cutting-edge science and big screen footage from his two decades in TV.

“It’s all themed round the ocean, around marine creatures, marine environments and it’s super-exciting. It’s not going to be a talk or a lecture, it’s a full-on, entertaining show.

“I’ve got a bunch of ways I am going to illustrate the way that animals, for example, catch their prey or perceive their world, using on stage science experiments. I also have a selection of life-size replicas of even our very biggest ocean giants, which are going to be appearing on stage.”

Steve’s message about the challenges our marine environments face

There will also be no getting away from a strong message – the challenges to protect and preserve the world’s oceans and what we can all do about it.

“I think there has to be. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not going to be all preachy and telling us what we are doing wrong. But you can’t in all good conscience nowadays talk about the natural environment, particularly our marine environment, without talking about the challenges those environments face.”

In his long career, Steve has many memorable moments getting up close and personal with magnificent animals but one in particular stands out when he was diving with sperm whales in the Caribbean.

Dolphins and porpoises are just some of the creatures to be found in the waters of the north-east of Scotland.

“A female sperm whale had a very young calf, no more than weeks old, and decided she wanted to introduce it to us.

“She was steering it repeatedly to us in the water, getting closer and closer to us. Then the mother started copying me underwater. When I dived, she dived,  when I pirouetted she would pirouette in the same way, when I somersaulted she somersaulted. She was mirroring my movements.

“It was mindblowing having an animal that weighs as much as a firetruck that is playing with you, dancing with you, below the surface.”

Steve likes to think that his putting the natural world in the spotlight through his TV work, writing, and stage shows has made a difference.

Generation of young people ‘turned on to wildlife’ by Deadly 60

“About four or five years ago I started getting letters, emails and people coming up to me in public and saying ‘I got switched on to wildlife watching Deadly 60 when I was a kid and I’ve just started going to university studying marine biology and it’s because of you’,” said Steve.

“I now get hundreds of those messages and if even one of them is actually true, that’s a huge thing and I kind of feel ‘my work here is done’.”

Ocean promises to be a full-on entertainment show, said Steve Backshall.

Which is why he is keeping so busy, with a number of television projects in the pipeline – a new series of Deadly 60 is on the way – he’s developing an ocean exploration project and writing a book with his wife about parenting with nature.

First though, is his tour and he hopes Ocean at the Music Hall will see the audience dive into a different and fascinating world alongside him.

“Come excited and enthused about the ocean. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there will be something in it for you.”

For more information and tickets for Steve Backshall’s Ocean visit aberdeenperformingarts.com


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