Sky Nature dives deep into uncharted ocean territories in Whale with Steve Backshall, coming this December

Tuesday 7 November 2023

View the trailer: HERE

Steve Backshall will soon return to screens as he explores the incredible world of our oceans in Whale with Steve Backshall  coming to Sky Nature and NOW on 3 December 2023. 

Following the success of Sky Nature’s Shark with Steve Backshall, this brand-new, four-part series follows Steve as he free dives with whales and dolphins, getting closer than ever before, providing the audience the opportunity to witness rarely seen behaviours from these extraordinary mammals. 

Through immersive, stunning natural history sequences, we’ll follow mighty sperm and humpback whales, and meet intelligent orcas and bottlenose dolphins. The series explores their complex social relationships, surprising hunting techniques and we’ll discover that – just like us – whales have very close-knit family units. 

A naturalist, conservationist and Sky Ocean Hero Ambassador, Steve teams up with world-leading scientists to confront the uncomfortable and urgent truths of overfishing, exploring how whales and dolphins are adapting to the ever-changing ocean environment in unexpected ways. Joining whale advocates across the globe who are achieving some great conservation successes, Steve will discover why whales are essential for the health of our oceans, what we can do to ensure their survival and achieve the most remarkable conservation story of all.

Steve Backshall commented on the new series: “The surface of the world’s ocean is the hottest it’s ever been - our sea life is in danger and we need to take urgent action. Visting the habitats of these remarkable mammals put into sharp focus how integral they are to our oceans’ health and why we must do everything we can to reduce threats to their existence.”

Poppy Dixon, Director Documentaries and Factual for Sky added: “We’re thrilled to be launching this stunning natural history series with Steve Backshall – a remarkable free-diver with world-class expertise in ocean life, Steve is the perfect guide to take audiences on this eye-opening journey amongst the whales and dolphins of our planet.”

Whale with Steve Backshall airs on Sky Nature and streaming service NOW on Sunday 3 December 2023

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Images available on Sky Editorial Asset Centre - SEAC

Screeners available on Sky Media Village

Episode Synopses


Steve Backshall explores our changing understanding of whales and reveals we have much in common.

Whales are mammals just like us and despite living in an underwater world that couldn’t be more different from ours, we share so much. Steve dives into their underwater world on their terms to reveal the profound wisdom, complex family lives and advanced communication abilities that makes them so familiar to us. He encounters matriarchal Sperm Whales and rarely recorded Risso’s Dolphins in the Azores, playful Spotted Dolphins in the Bahamas and singing Humpbacks in the South Pacific. With each meeting, he explores how, as we learn more about them, human perception of whales has shifted from fear and misunderstanding, to wonder and appreciation. He discovers that our historical misperception of whales made it easy to treat them as commodities during the era of whaling and that, even in the modern world, we are still causing them unwitting harm as their world of sound becomes increasingly noisy. Finally, Steve asks how a new golden age of discovery can allow us to better protect them in a rapidly changing world.


Steve Backshall reveals the ingenious hunting strategies of whales, the largest predators on the planet.

Contrary to myth, whales do not just swim around with their mouths open. All whales and dolphins are extraordinary predators, using sound, skill, teamwork, and strategy to catch their prey. Steve enters their world as they hunt to understand what makes them the ocean’s apex predators. An extraordinary face to face encounter with the most sophisticated of all, Orca, begins a journey that reveals the remarkable abilities of the ocean’s greatest predators.

In the Bahamas, Steve experiences super-sensing Bottlenose Dolphins that see through sand with sound and in the Azores comes close to huge Sei Whales lunge feeding on baitballs corralled by dolphins. From the largest animal ever to have lived, the Blue Whale, to the strange Boto dolphin feeding on piranha in flooded Amazon forests, their hunting strategies know no bounds.

Taking to freezing Arctic waters in Norway, Steve discovers how these ingenious hunters are even using us to help them catch their food. Yet as their world and ours collide, these varied strategies are putting them at risk from bycatch, entanglement and pollution and Steve asks what we can do to protect them.


Steve Backshall journeys the globe with some of the greatest travelers on the planet.

Migratory whales clock up thousands of miles a year to reach special places where they feed, breed and raise their young. Steve meets those who face the longest journeys of all to uncover where they go, when, and why it’s worth starving for half the year to get there.

His odyssey begins in the birthing grounds of Tahiti, where one curious young humpback calf gives him the encounter of a lifetime. In Argentina, a female Southern Right Whale has also journeyed to give birth. Rare underwater footage captures her newborn calf taking its first drink of mother’s milk. Eager males are also here to mate. Yet this paradise is changing. Flesh-eating gulls attack the calves, reducing their chances of survival.

Migrating whales face a growing list of threats, from the danger of increasing ship traffic to climate change, affecting Grey Whales that give birth on migration rather than in safe birthing grounds.

In Norway, humpbacks arrive after their long voyages. Steve takes to a paddleboard, as he encounters a group feasting on herring and questions what their future may hold as their world changes.


Steve Backshall returns home to ask, if whales have survived so much, what can we all do to ensure their enduring future

The waters of the North Atlantic are a global hotspot for whales and dolphins - home to a third of the world’s species. Steve travels to the British Isles to follow some specific stories of survival and meet the people striving to give whales and dolphins a future. He joins scientists making surprising discoveries about the lengths whales have gone to to adapt to changes we’ve caused to their ocean homes and asks how we can adapt our behaviour to give them a more successful future.

Fremantle is handling global distribution for Whale with Steve Backshall.