A journey around the coast of the United Kingdom. The team explores the Isle of Man, where Miranda Krestovnikoff searches for the biggest sharks in British waters.
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Question. Which landmass lies right at the heart of the British Isles,
but is not part of the UK? Has its own Celtic language,
but was ruled for 200 years by the Vikings,
and - according to legend -
is protected by a cloak-like mist summoned by the sea god Manannon?
Where else, but the Isle of Man?
The Isle of Man is just 16 miles
off the mainland.
But it's independent of the United Kingdom and the European Union.
That stretch of Irish Sea really does make all the difference.
It never ceases to amaze me.
I spend all this time travelling around the British Isles, but I keep
finding whole places that I've never been to, and this is one of them.
The port of Douglas has a perfect seafront, like a child's picture book.
But I've an appointment in a more ancient settlement - Castletown.
The guide books tell you that the Isle of Man has the oldest
parliament in the world, the Tynwald, founded in 979.
But who does it represent?
Who are the Manx people?
And what is that weird symbol I'm seeing everywhere?
If anyone knows, it'll be Butch Buttery - fisherman, chef and Manxman.
Butch, what is it that makes this place tick?
It's the independence, I think.
It's the fact that we're not English,
not Irish, not Scottish.
We're very much our own people here.
We're not big on natural resources, we've only ever had farming and fishing.
The economy is driven by the difference in taxation. Our taxation is lower than the mainland.
Our income tax is only 10%,
so we have a lot of financial services here, insurance services.
I suppose, historically,
our tax rates on brandy and tobacco were lower than those in the UK,
so vessels would put in here and unload cargos,
which would be smuggled back to the mainland.
What is it with the three-legged symbol?
It's an ancient Norse symbol. But to me and to Manx people,
it's our flag, badge, it's a symbol of our nation. It means,
"Whichever way you throw me, I will stand."
It symbolises resourcefulness of the Manx people.
It's not just about giving everyone a good kick?
-It's nothing to do with giving everyone a good kicking, no.
-When I go on holiday,
one thing I think about is good food. Is there good food here?
Fantastic. Particularly the seafood.
The warm currents of the Gulf Stream create a rich supply of plankton round the island,
ideal for raising the shellfish known locally as "queenies,"
and to you and me as queen scallops.
I'm about to get a cookery lesson in the style of Mad Manx.
It's a serious burner you've got there, Butch.
There's no point in fiddling around with camping stoves, is there?
Let's get the show on the road now.
A bit of garlic.
Two shallots. They don't need to be cooked for more than two minutes,
a minute and a half, something like that.
We have got purity laws here on beer, ice-cream, and the food that we produce.
They're very restrictive about what you can do with them.
You can't use chemicals. ..A little bit of parsley.
And then, really to finish it, when they are as done as you want them to be,
a wee bit of wine.
-It's all my favourite things, all in the same place!
-Yeah. On here...
Have a fork.
-Doesn't get any better than that.
Moving west, we come to a resort popular since Victorian times.
Port Erin lies in a tranquil bay but, like other holiday destinations
on the island, it has a darker past.
With the coming of the Second World War,
its hotels became home to a different kind of visitor.
Alice Roberts uncovers their story.
Port Erin is a picturesque seaside town, but those coming in 1940
weren't arriving at a holiday resort, they were coming to prison.
In that summer of 1940, a German invasion of Britain
was expected daily. Amid fears of a fifth column of enemy sympathisers,
German, Austrian and Italian immigrants to Britain were rounded up all over the country.
They were brought to the Isle Of Man for internment.
This is a photograph of the people that had been rounded up
from their homes and brought here
in 1940. You just wonder what was going through their minds
as they arrived here and faced an uncertain future.
Rosemary Wood's parents were Austrian.
In 1940, she was just 14
and living in London with her mother and sister.
Rosemary, when did you first find out that you were going to be moved
to the Isle of Man and interned here?
When my mother heard it on the radio, the next morning two policemen
came to the door and said, "You know what we've come for?"
My mother said, "Yes, do you expect me to leave the house
"and the children, and the cat and the dog?"
And they said, "We'll come back in an hour's time, if that suits you."
You had an hour to pack everything?
Yes. We went into the police car and then they took us on to board the train for Liverpool.
Walking through the streets was the worst part
because there were angry bystanders shouting, "Hang the lot of them."
Other people threw missiles, but luckily nothing hit us.
My mother said, "Just look down at the floor and don't take any notice."
Sounds like quite a traumatic journey.
You must have been relieved when you got here.
Yes, there was a sense of relief that we'd reached the end of the journey.
Around 15,000 foreign nationals were interned on the island.
Men were housed in camps in Douglas and Ramsey.
Port Erin was designated for women and children.
In the men's camps, hotels and guest houses were requisitioned
with barbed-wire running along the promenades.
In Port Erin, the women and children internees
were allowed to move around freely, albeit under police supervision.
What happened when you arrived in Port Erin?
We were met at the railway station
by several policewomen, and they grouped us off
-into batches of about 22 people and marched us up this promenade.
We were told to follow this Sergeant Pike, who was a big burly woman.
When we got to about this point, my mother said to her, "How much further have we got to go?
"We are tired carrying all this luggage?"
And she said, "We are going right up to those houses in the distance, you see."
We lingered at the back of this group of 22, and at the next turning on the right here,
my mother said, "We are turning down here."
I was terrified of disobeying this policewoman, but she said to stay around here out of sight.
We hovered there for a while and then my mother looked round.
When they were over the hill and out of sight,
she turned round and knocked on the door of the Eagle Hotel.
That was what used to be here?
That's right. They demolished the hotel, the original building.
The landlady in the booth asked us what we wanted
and my mother said, "We have lost our guide, can you give us accommodation here?"
The Eagle Hotel became Rosemary's home for the next year,
because her Austrian mother took the bold decision
to ignore their police escort.
On the other side of the island, the men had no such freedom.
Yvonne Creswell has researched the internment camps' history.
So this is another
Isle of Man camp, is it?
That's it. This is the Mooragh camp in Ramsey,
and it's fairly typical. You have a section of hotels...
on the promenade, and just barbed-wire put round them.
Guards sat at all the entrances and exits,
as you can see here in Hutchinson camp.
It looks like a concentration camp, doesn't it? With the barbed wire.
That's the terrifying thing when we look at them now.
-Did they have jobs to do while they were here?
Boredom is the biggest threat.
Artists painted, writers wrote,
and places like Hutchinson was known as the camp university
because there were so many German and Austrian academics,
but several camps also produced their own newspapers.
This is a cartoon of where the Isle of Man is in relation to
the rest of Europe, and...
-the three-legged symbol with barbed wire around it.
It truly was an island of barbed wire at that time.
As the threat of an invasion receded, the public mood changed
and many foreign internees were released.
But Rosemary Wood and her mother
were in no hurry to return to London.
They'd come to the Isle of Man expecting a prison.
What they'd found was a haven from the war.
I can't believe how lucky we were, looking back. The sun
seemed to shine every day. We had swimming costumes, we were in and out of the water,
sitting on the beach, chatting to the other internees.
The scenery here is so beautiful.
We could walk up to the hill, we could walk to Port St Mary.
We were so lucky because it must have been the cushiest camp in the world.
How do you feel about it now, coming back all these years later
to this place where you were actually kept a prisoner?
We were away from the Blitz, we were safe, we had a roof over our head
and food. Not luxurious food, but we were housed and fed,
knowing that so many people on the Continent were in far worse circumstances.
We just counted ourselves very lucky.
Release finally came for Rosemary in 1942,
and a reluctant return to wartime London.
From Prison Island to Fantasy Island,
the latest turn of the tide for the Isle of Man.
The last decade has brought over 80 films and TV dramas here.
What filmmaker could resist stunning scenery and spectacular tax breaks?
Films like Waking Ned in Cregneash,
Churchill The Hollywood Years in Castletown,
and Stormbreaker in Port Erin have attracted a galaxy of stars.
Penelope Cruz, Christian Slater, Ewan McGregor, Johnny Depp.
But for every big name,
the Isle of Man has many more just waiting to break through.
Hello. My name is Charlie Henry and for a day job,
I'm duty manager for the shipping line which runs to the Isle of Man.
But I have a very interesting sideline
in the active film industry
within the island, where I am a film extra,
and I've now been fortunate to appear in over 40 productions.
This is from the film Keeping Mum, which had Rowan Atkinson.
I was in it as a footballer.
Also in this particular movie is Patrick Swayze.
This is taken from Piccadilly Jim.
The main star was Brenda Blethyn.
She is such an amazing professional, and also, she is such a nice person.
I had one good night out at one of the nightclubs, and Brenda was giving it as much as everyone else.
She was really enjoying it.
Today, I'm about to film an advertisement,
and I am going to play a fisherman.
Everybody has the one eye on Hollywood,
but basically, I'm very happy here on the island and enjoying what I'm doing.
Hollywood royalty crossing the oceans to the Isle of Man is a recent phenomenon.
But for thousands of years, the island's warm summer waters
have brought some of the biggest stars of the aquatic world.
Miranda Krestovnikoff is stalking that most elusive of celebrities, the basking shark.
Basking sharks can be seen off various parts
of the British coastline, but the locals here
reckon they have the absolute top spot
if you want to catch a glimpse of these marine giants.
As summer warms our coastal waters,
basking sharks move up the coastline from Cornwall to the Isle of Man,
and eventually as far north as the Western Isles of Scotland.
June and July are supposed to be the best months to see them around the island.
I've come to try and swim with one of the most spectacular animals
in British waters, but first I've got to find them.
John Galpin is one of the island's keenest shark spotters.
One of the great features of them
is that you can see an animal which has been on the planet for 200 million years
and you can watch some of the most amazing things like the mating,
the courtship behaviour,
perhaps even giving birth,
but you have to put some time into it to see these exciting things.
I'm fortunate, because I have got a tolerant wife
and she lets me have huge binoculars in the bedroom,
so you see some amazing things at six in the morning. Sharks, whales, all sorts.
But this is a great vantage point for watching basking sharks.
I tend to do most of my work from the shore.
You then get a much broader panorama and you can see them doing things.
I'm particularly interested in their courtship behaviour.
-Have you seen them courting?
-We get them courting here a lot.
About 150 yards offshore, this pair came together and they came and entwined themselves.
There was a big churning in the water and there they were, mating sharks, 150 metres off the shore here.
What have we got out there? Any fins breaking the surface?
I can't see any fins just at the moment.
John is not the island's only shark fan. There is even a Shark Watch update on local radio.
'You are listening to Manx Radio. Keep those sightings coming this morning. The more we get,
'the more information we put towards the Manx Basking Shark Watch.'
Jackie Hall is a marine biologist and founder of the Manx Basking Shark Watch.
Hopefully, her inside knowledge will get me an encounter with a shark.
I'm familiar with the Isle of Man as being
a hot spot for basking sharks.
-What brings them up here?
-The Isle of Man
is bathed in warm water
that's come up from the Atlantic, carried by the Gulf Stream.
And, as the water warms up, we get plankton bloom,
-and the sharks are here to eat that plankton.
Not that marvellous. Because it's not flat, oily calm.
There is something over there.
There's his tail as well. Did you see his tail up, that time?
That's fairly typical, just feeding,
with his mouth wide open, just under the surface.
It never ceases to be exciting, does it?
I've seen lots of basking sharks and you do get excited!
He's doing that typical, zig-zagged feeding pattern.
They find an in the water strandline of plankton
and they just zig-zag feed, backwards and forwards through it.
-How big do you reckon that one is?
-Probably an eight-metre one, but let's wait until we get in closer.
'This is my chance.
'There's nothing like seeing these sharks up close to take your breath away.
'It's only now that their size really hits you.
'They're as big as a bus and twice the weight of an elephant.
'That huge mouth looks daunting, but they don't bite.
'They feed by filtering from the water the minute organisms that make up plankton.
'Sticky mucus on their gills traps the food as it flows by,
'and they can really move.
'A flick of the tail and he's gone.'
A journey around the coast of the United Kingdom.
The team explores the Isle of Man, where Miranda Krestovnikoff searches for the biggest sharks in British waters. Alice Roberts meets a woman with a remarkable story of childhood in the Isle of Man's internment camps, where 'enemy aliens' in Britain were held during World War II.