What has been the highlight of the new series for you?
Most days' filming mean lots of waiting around or rushing to and from locations. I never tire of spending time by the sea, so I when I get moments between really interesting conversations, or delivering pieces to camera, when the rest of the team are sorting out problems, I find those moments truly awesome as I get to enjoy the sea air.
Why do you think it’s important that we understand more about our coastline?
As an island nation, the sea has played a huge part in shaping who we are. Our coastline involves so many different people, buildings, structures, animals, environments, that taking the time to understand the variety and diversity helps us reconcile that, as a nation, we have to celebrate our differences as well as our common ground.
What is your favourite area/beach/aspect of the UK coastline?
I have always loved Giants Causeway and the coast of County Antrim as I grew up enjoying them and they really show land and the sea coming together in a fairly violent mix of rocks and waves. However, I have to say that, now, the couple of miles from the China clay works on Par beach to the harbour at Polkerris on the south coast of Cornwall (just over the hill from my smallholding) have to be my favourite beach/coastal path/harbour/rockpools.
The Giant's Causeway
Coast has grown into something of a national institution – why do you think people are so interested/passionate about the coast?
I defy anyone to watch Coast and not learn something. Our coastline has such variety and amazing beauty that there is always something for everyone. There is something there for anyone with a pulse.
How did you get involved with presenting Coast?
I was lucky enough to have made several engineering series for the BBC and had made some short films on D-Day and the war in the Far East, so I was invited to take part in a couple of Coast programmes with engineering or military history connections. It's great fun and, anytime I’m asked if I’m interested, I always say "yes" as I know I’ll learn lots and meet some cracking people.
What have you personally gained from your involvement with the series?
Spending time in a coastal resort, or in a specific location by the sea, covering a story for Coast, gives you the time to appreciate an area that you would probably pass through with barely a second thought. More and more patches of our coastline are becoming special for me as I get a chance to really know them.
Where would you like to see Coast go next?
When I was growing up, the map of the world was covered in pink countries – I reckon it would be great to look at all the places we came ashore to conquer and build the empire and commonwealth. There will be lots of examples of hardship, ingenuity, perseverance, and people with stories we have never heard.
Do you have any Open University connections outside Coast?
My daughter is a singer songwriter and recently decided to take some OU language and psychology modules and two of my sisters did OU degrees and masters degrees whilst working.
Find out more
Watch videos, order the new Coast booklet and find out why this series of Coast goes further than any other: Coast on OpenLearn