BBC2’s latest ‘Secrets of the Aquarium’ series unveils the National Marine Aquarium’s hidden depths, proving it’s way more than your typical fish tank. Freyja Thomson-Alberts, Engagement Manager for the Ocean Conservation Trust (OCT), highlighted this eye-opening journey.
Spanning a year, this six-part documentary delves into the astounding underwater world teeming with thousands of creatures housed within the National Marine Aquarium, managed by the Ocean Conservation Trust.
The show spotlights not just the 5,000 remarkable critters residing in the aquarium but also the tireless efforts of the 100 dedicated individuals who care for them day in, day out.
In the premiere episode, viewers witnessed a rare occurrence as the team tackled the relocation of a tricky shark named El Diablo from one tank at the bottom to another at the top. Additionally, the episode captured the Plymouth Sound National Marine Park’s open weekend in 2022, welcoming over 3,000 visitors to the NMA, courtesy of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Careful not to spoil, Freyja Thomson-Alberts, prominently featured in episode two, teased that the series offers an insider’s view into the immense dedication required to keep the aquarium running smoothly. She remarked, “It’s been amazing because it tells the story of the aquarium really well. It showcases that we are more than just an aquarium.”
“It really highlights our forward-thinking approach, constantly seeking fresh ways to engage and ensuring everyone can connect with the ocean in their own accessible way. There’s a diverse range of connections available, tailored for each person’s enjoyment.
This aspect shines in the upcoming episodes, capturing more of our engagement initiatives. As the Engagement Manager for the Ocean Conservation Trust, overseeing various engagement programs, including public and community projects, is part of my role.
Our internal events aim to involve the public through workshops and live shows, while community programs help individuals connect with marine life. Take, for instance, our Ocean for All program, where staff use VR headsets in care homes, offering glimpses into aquarium life, raising awareness and involving more people in the underwater world at the country’s largest aquarium.
Episode two explores the Ocean for All program as our filming team joins OCT during an engagement visit in Plymouth. Adapting to the cameras initially felt odd, but once accustomed, they faded into the background. They weren’t too intrusive; it felt like a regular day in the office!
Initiatives like Ocean for All are the most rewarding aspects of my role. “I find joy in showing there are diverse ways to connect with the ocean beyond just diving in,” I shared. “It’s been a priority for me to explore fresh approaches and seek new innovations during my time here.”