Ross Kemp dives deeper and travels further than before to uncover shipwrecks of major historical significance.
In this remarkable series, keen diver Ross Kemp will set out to explore the most stunning shipwrecks the UK has to offer. These watery monuments offer a unique window into the exploits of our ancestors’ through their own evocative, poignant stories.
In each episode he will dive on two extraordinary wrecks, acting as a historical detective to uncover how the ship came to be built, who sailed on her, and what happened on her final voyage.
Ross will be able to search some of the wrecks for personal items left behind by those that sailed with her. Any objects he finds will be further analysed by experts to reveal new information about the ship, its inhabitants, and the story from history it was a part of. These are big stories from our past, told through the lens of the individual.
EPISODE 1: THE MARY ROSE
In this first programme Ross Kemp heads back to his training quarry where Dive Master, Neil Brock reminds him of the dangers of becoming a deep-sea treasure hunter. Before Ross plunges to unknown depths, he is given the extraordinary opportunity to be one of the few divers allowed on the site of Britain’s most famous wreck, the Mary Rose... Henry VIII’s beloved warship that sank in 1545.
EPISODE 2: SUEZ
Ross Kemp’s search for lost treasures from the British Empire leads him to Plymouth – the port most associated with the nation’s imperial ambitions. Using metal detectors, they uncover genuine treasure and Mallory is convinced they have discovered a new wreck. In a quest to discover more about Britain’s expansion of the empire Ross and the team head to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Suez – when the Suez Canal opened in 1867 it transformed world commerce. But the treacherous reefs that litter the mouth of the Suez have led to thousands of wrecked ships.
EPISODE 3: NAZI MENACE
In this episode Ross continues on his diving quest in the crystal-clear waters of the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt. The first wreck Ross is due to dive is the deepest he has ever gone before. The wreck of the Rosalie Moller is at points 55m deep, so it is critical that Ross, and Mallory Haas his teammate and a Marine Archaeologist dive with extreme caution. Before he leaves the Red Sea he still needs to do one last thing – find treasure. He hopes to find it on the SS Carnatic, a 19th Century luxury liner that was reportedly carrying the equivalent of £1million in gold coins.
EPISODE 4: D DAY
In this episode Ross goes on the hunt for wrecks that tell the story of D-Day and discovers how winning wasn’t just a case of superior fire and man power, but also ingenuity. Starting on the south coast in Dorset’s Studland Bay he learns about Operation Smash – a dress rehearsal for the D Day landings. Ross first dives on a Valentine tank wrecked during the operation and discovers that these were tanks retro-fitted with ‘canvas skirts’ that allowed them to float. He also heads to Normandy to find out what happened during the actual landings and starts by diving on the LST 523, a massive military cargo ship.
SEASON 1 (ROSS KEMP: SHIPWRECK TREASURE HUNTER)
Inspired by his family’s maritime past, Ross undertakes a special intensive training course under the tutelage of dive supervisor Neil Brock and, with the help an expert divers Emily Turton and Mallory Haas, he explores spectacular shipwrecks all around the UK.
Moving from the Orkneys down to south Devon, he dives on WWI and WWII warships, experimental submarines, early slaver ships and Napoleonic frigates - searching for clues and artefacts in challenging underwater conditions that, back on land, lead him to the incredible true story behind every wreck.
EPISODE 1: THE U-BOAT MENACE
Inspired by the story of his two distant cousins that died at sea in WWII, Ross Kemp heads up to Scapa Flow, the Royal Navy’s historic naval base in the far northerly Orkneys Islands. With the help of dive supervisor Neil Brock and expert dive guide Emily Turton he explores captured German scout warship, the F2 and brings up treasure that could link back to his relatives. For his second dive he explores the sunken Royal Navy freighter, SS Tabarka, and finds out how it led the fightback against the Nazi U-Boats.
EPISODE 2: THE KAISER’S SUNKEN FLEET
Ross Kemp continues his adventure in Scapa Flow, Orkney, heading out again with local expert dive guide Emily Turton and dive supervisor Neil Brock. Plunging down on the wreck of German warship, SMS Karlsruhe, he discovers why the German WWI warship ended up and the bottom, despite coming to the Royal Navy base in peace. The answer leads him 600 miles to explore the wreck of on an experimental 1920s submarine aircraft carrier called the M2. His dive unravels the tragic truth about how it was lost with all hands in 1932.
EPISODE 3: SLAVER SHIP SECRETS
Ross Kemp heads to north Devon to dive on the wreck of steam-age ship the Iona II, which went down on its maiden voyage to America in 1864 with a mystery cargo on board. With the help of dive supervisor Neil Brock and expert dive guide Emily Turton he pushes through intense low visibility conditions to search for an answer and finally uncovers that ship was gun smuggling for the pro-slavery Confederates during the American Civil War. The story is so shocking Ross is inspired to dive down with maritime archaeologist Mallory Haas on the site of potential early slaver ship in Plymouth. What they find underwater sheds new light on one of the most inhumane periods in British history.
EPISODE 4: TRADE WARS
Ross Kemp visits an old family pub and finds out about his great grandfather, who served in the Merchant Navy and was shipwrecked three times. It inspires him to dive down with maritime archaeologist Mallory Hass on the wreck of WWII cargo ship, the James Eagan Layne, and try to recover its military supplies. His dive in the south Devon waters is cut short by a terrifying kit failure. Determined to make amends he heads out to dive on HMS Amethyst, a legendary 18th century warship that fought for Britain’s trade routes during the Napoleonic Wars. Underwater in south Devon, Ross and Mallory find a remarkable artefact that helps explain why the Amethyst was such a successful warship. Over a final drink at Plymouth’s historic Minerva Tavern, Ross, dive supervisor Neil Brock and Mallory toast the end of his diving adventure.
"An interesting look at maritime history."
"Our latest doc obsession."
"The perfect mix of high stakes and personal connection, reminding us of the history in the waters around us."
"Peppered with historical detail and powerful personal narratives... great TV."