Irish Humpbacks feature on One Show, BBC Jan 5th & 6th

We are delighted to announced the latest collaboration between the BBC Natural History Unit and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, was aired over two days on the BBC’s “One Show”, Monday 5th and Tuesday 6th January at 7:00pm.

You can watch the footage here:

Part 1                                                                                                                    Part 2

bbc part 1bbc part 2




The initial plan, assuming the mission was successful was to run the wildlife story in a single slot on Monday 5th Jan, but so successful was the shoot that the unit got ample footage for wildlife presenter Mike Dilger to tell the story over two days. This is the BBC’s 4th filming expedition to the Irish South coast to film our large whales inshore. Previous shoots have included BBC Autumnwatch (fin whales in East Cork/Waterford), BBC Winterwatch (Humpback whales, West Cork), The Great British Season (West Cork) and now The One Show off where else but jaw-dropping West Kerry.

After the weather and whales conspired against Gordon Buchanan in Dec. 2012 in West Cork, we decided to take a different approach, as in the interim years it has become very clear that the real hotspot for humpbacks in Irish waters, certainly in the past 3-4 years, have been the rich and productive waters around the Blaskets and Dingle Bay.  For instance in 2014 almost 70% of all validated humpback whale sightings (n=53) came from this area of Co. Kerry. So moving the operation West to Kerry was a fairly easy decision and the bonus was that we also got the showcase the great resource that is the IWDG’s yacht, Celtic Mist, which performed wonderfully over the shoot.  It had the added advantage that the this was a summer sighting peak and not a winter peak, which tilts the odds much more favourably in our favour when it comes to filming such a relatively rare species.

As always a huge thanks to Nick Massett and the team for all their voluntary effort in monitoring these whales year in, year out. We hope that this footage will encourage some funding from tourism agencies or companies who see the enormous potential for using iconic and rare species like humpback whales to showcase the very best of Ireland’s marine wildlife along our Wild Atlantic Way.  The IWDG sighting scheme which provides the network that enables us tell these stories remains unfunded in the Republic since 2013.

Pádraig Whooley, IWDG Sightings Officer

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