Matt Baker, Liz Bonnin and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to front BBC’s live ocean wildlife gathering

BBC1's Big Blue Live will take place in Monterey Bay, California and also be presented by Steve Backshall

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We’ve had Planet Earth Live and Lambing Live – now we’re heading below the surface of the ocean for Big Blue Live. 

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The new three-part series from BBC1 will see presenters Matt Baker, Liz Bonnin, Steve Backshall and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall broadcasting live from Monterey Bay, California, host to one of the biggest wildlife gatherings in the oceans where blue whales, humpback whales, elephant seals, dolphins, sea otters and great white sharks migrate from around the world.

Their reward? A glut of fish and plankton but some won’t survive the perilous journey, and even if they do, will there be enough food to sustain them? 

The three episodes will see Matt hosting live from Monterey Bay Aquarium, exploring the animals and spectacle of the location and meeting those who live and study there. “I’m so excited about this,” he says. “I think the BBC’s Natural History Unit is the finest in the world… It’s a super team and with a cast of whales, sharks, sea otters and other amazing creatures, it’ll be a thrilling watch.”

Matt will be joined by Liz who will also be following the journey of the animals who make the trip, as well as delving into some of the science and explaining how this place works. 

Steve will be posted in the middle of the bay, live from a boat where he will seek out whales, dolphins and other spectacular wildlife. 

The site is regarded as a conversation success story thanks to the endangered species which were brought back from the brink after hunting stopped on the Californian Coast and the seas became protected. Hugh will be looking deeper at the effect of those measures and showing what happens when you give nature a chance. 

The team will also be on the lookout for blue whales – the largest animal on the planet – taking to the air to spot them, joining the scientists who tag them and looking at how shipping companies and biologists work together to avoid collisions. 

According to BBC1 controller Charlotte Moore, the channel will “take viewers on an extraordinary oceanic journey and get up close and personal with marine life above and beneath the water. It promises to be an unmissable live TV event showcasing a spectacular display of sea creatures rarely seen in such close proximity.”

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The new series will broadcast on BBC1 later this year with presenters and crew members also posting news, photos and clips of the action to Big Blue Live Digital – Never Miss a Moment where fans can get involved online.