Image for The WhaleNot currently available on BBC iPlayer

Duration: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Dramatic retelling of the fateful last voyage of the Nantucket whaleship Essex. When the Essex is attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in November 1820, her crew take to three fragile whalers. Alone in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, the men must decide whether to head for the nearest islands - a thousand miles downwind to the west - or set out on an epic journey of almost three thousand miles to reach the South American mainland. Fear of cannibals forces them to choose South America.

Almost three months later, the first whaler is rescued by another whaleship. Only three men are still alive. A week later the captain's whaler is also rescued, with just two men aboard. The third whaler is never found.

This is a story of human endurance and what men in extremis will do to survive.

Last on

Sun 22 Dec 2013 21:00 BBC One


Tom Nickerson
Martin Sheen
Young Tom Nickerson
Charles Furness
Owen Chase
Jonas Armstrong
Captain George Pollard
Adam Rayner
Benjamin Lawrence
Jolyon Coy
Owen Coffin
Jassa Ahluwalia
Richard Peterson
David Gyasi
William Bond
John Boyega
Obed Hendricks
Ferdinand Kingsley
Matthew Joy
Paul Kaye
Executive Producer
Eamon Hardy
Executive Producer
Ruth Caleb
Mike Dormer
Alrick Riley
Terry Cafolla


Captured on canvas

Captured on canvas

The melancholy story of Moby Dick and whale hunting in paintings.

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