The British Whales



The British Isles are littered with whales - real and imagined.

Kathleen Jamie investigates.

Whales have bumped into the coast and swum recklessly up the Forth, the Humber and the Thames.

Whalebone arches are raised on cliffs.

We hunted them to within inches of extinction and now we love them to death, though many scientists think of them as no cleverer than marine cows.

But still they fill our dreams and populate our imginations.

The programme tries to map some of the mutifarious cetaceans that make up the British Whales.

With poems from Simon Armitage, Catriona O'Reilly and Paul Farley and contributions from former chemist on board floating whalers, Hugh Symons, whalebone archivist Nicholas Redman, and writer Philip Hoare.

Producer: Tim Dee