BSAC: Tyneside scuba divers buddy up with TV star Robson Green

TV heart-throb Robson Green buddied up with scuba divers from Tyneside to explore shipwrecks for a new television series.

When producers of Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green were planning a second series of the popular ITV show they decided they needed to take the action underwater and record some of the many shipwrecks that litter the seabed of Northumberland’s rugged coast.

Coryton 2 underwater ceidiog

They turned to Andy Hunt, a member of the Tyneside branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club (BSAC), for help in planning which wrecks Robson Green should dive on and film for the series which will air on ITV in early 2015.

Andy, who is also BSAC’s chief examiner for First Class Divers, suggested which wrecks they should film and agreed to act as Robson Green’s dive buddy for the expeditionary dives.

But before they took to the water Robson Green, a qualified diver who is well known for his Extreme Fishing series, needed to be fully trained in the use of a full face mask so he could talk direct to the camera while underwater.


He said diving with Andy Hunt on the shipwrecks and seeing cannons and artefacts in the place where they came to rest was far better than viewing them on display in a museum.

Robson said: “I’m from Northumberland of course and have recently returned to live in the area. Diving with Andy Hunt and the rest of the BSAC team has been a wonderful and unforgettable experience.

“There are three words very close to my heart when it comes to diving; that’s health and safety, and during my BSAC training, I have never felt in safer hands.

“The Farne Islands is a place of such beauty and yet tragedy too. It really has been an amazing experience. But, when it comes to my BSAC training, I couldn’t have had better preparation for diving off the Northumberland coast to record Tales from Northumberland.”

Andy Hunt, 42, an Engineering Manager for a tidal energy company, said: “I was pleased to get a call from ITV asking me what I knew of some of the wrecks off the Northumberland coast and whether I could help with the making of part of this series, something I was delighted to do.

“We decided to concentrate on two wrecks in particular both of which Tyneside 114 BSAC, of which I’m an active member, have dived regularly and spent a great deal of time recording and researching.

“The first, called Gun Rocks, is the site of an unidentified wreck which lies off the Farne Islands. The wreck was discovered by Tyneside Club divers more than 40 years ago and became the subject of an archaeological survey.

“It was first thought the wreck was a man o’ war from the Spanish Armada as there are lots of cannons which scatter the seabed around the wreck but I think it was finally decided the ship was of Dutch origin.

“One of the wreck’s cannons was raised and is now on display at Bamburgh Castle overlooking the Farne Islands. However, whether it was indeed a man o’ war or a cargo ship carrying guns remains a mystery.”

He added: “Last year English Heritage got in touch with the club and asked whether we could re-survey the wreck as they are trying to record more about wrecks in English waters. The Gun Rocks wreck is one on the list they are considering protecting on a look but not touch basis.”

Andy said: “The second wreck we chose to dive on with Robson Green is that of the SS Coryton which sank, after being attacked by German forces and running aground off the Farne Islands in 1941 with the loss of one life. Apparently the captain refused to abandon ship and his body washed ashore the following day.

“I’m delighted ITV and Robson Green have taken an interest in the wrecks that lie off the Northumberland coast. I’m keen to draw attention to the wrecks and the history we have here in the North East and in particular off the coast of Northumberland.

“Robson’s enthusiasm shines through and he really wants to show his audience a side of Northumberland, such as her many wreck sites, they wouldn’t normally get to see. In diving, exploring and researching and recording this site our club members have derived a great deal of enjoyment. It was clear that this was a really enjoyable dive for Robson too, which highlighted the value of our underwater heritage.”

Television producer, Stuart Ramsay, of Shiver which is part of ITV, says he wanted the second series of Tales of Northumberland with Robson Green to show some of the region’s hidden treasures and in particular, tell some of the fascinating stories around some of the many shipwrecks to be found in the area.

He said: “We want the series to bring history and the region’s heritage to life. When we looked at shipwrecks it quickly became apparent that it’s recreational divers from clubs such as Tyneside 114 BSAC that are making the discoveries and protecting the wreck sites.

“The first series proved very popular and we decided the theme for the second series should be ‘secret Northumberland’, things the viewer might not see every day. And that’s why we chose to look at some of the wrecks and the stories that surround them.”

He added: “Robson is a qualified diver but we wanted him to be able to use a full face mask and be able to talk to the camera while diving. The training he had from BSAC was superb and gave us the opportunity to talk to him while he was actually there diving on a wreck.

“While researching ideas for the second series we got in touch with Andy Hunt and we are all impressed with his passion and enthusiasm for diving and the preservation of wrecks.

“It made him the ideal person to accompany Robson while we recorded the underwater sequences needed for the new series.”

BSAC is the national governing body for UK scuba diving and is made up of 120 dive centres and 1,000 plus family friendly and sociable clubs, run by volunteers, up and down the country and abroad.

The Duke of Cambridge is the organisation’s President and last year it marked its diamond jubilee.

It represents more than 30,000 scuba divers and snorkellers and welcomes new members from complete beginners upwards including those who have trained with other agencies.

BSAC Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said: “Our clubs get involved with some fantastic projects and I know Andy and the other club members have been delighted to share their knowledge of some of the area’s most important wreck sites with Robson Green.

“I know Robson will have been in the very best possible hands for his training because at BSAC our standards are very high so our members can enjoy their passion for the sport and the underwater world safely.”

Sarah Conner, a BSAC Direct instructor and trainer, acted as safety diver for the dives when filming took place for Tales from Northumberland with Robson Green and taught Robson Green how to use a full face mask in the safety of Ashington Swimming Pool.

She said: “I work in TV making natural history and science programmes and I was asked to take on the role of safety diver for this project and was happy to do so.

“Robson is a qualified and very careful diver. My role was to teach him how to use the full face mask and then act as safety diver for the actual open water dives. It’s rather like being an instructor, however, without the training element.”

Andy Hunt says the Tyneside 114 BSAC branch is a friendly club with more than 40 members.

He said: “The club meets for a pool session at Dunston Leisure Centre on Monday evenings from 6.45pm onwards. We also meet at the Ravensworth Arms in Lamesley after the pool session from 8.30pm.

“It’s a friendly club with members from all walks of life. And with an active dive programme there is always something going on. I’d encourage anyone who thinks diving might be something they’d like to get involved with to get in touch via the clubs website.

“As I think we have shown filming this programme with Robson Green, Northumberland has a lot of hidden treasures. But divers get to see and experience a world the general public can only dream about. Why not come and give it a try?”

To learn more about Tyneside 114 BSAC branch visit and to learn more about BSAC visit

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