Last updated: 17 november, 2010 - 17:16 GMT


The Impossible Life of Jacques Cousteau

Jacques Cousteau getting prepared for a dive

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Jacques Cousteau escaped a near-fatal car crash, invented the aqualung and founded modern marine conservation – all in a day's work for a man who believed that "the impossible missions are the only ones which succeed".

Cousteau will always be remembered as the man who brought marine life to cinema and television screens for the first time.

Along with the crew of his iconic ship, Calypso, he inspired a generation of children to become scientists and pioneered marine conservation at a time when conservation of the land – let alone the sea – had scarcely been thought of.

Yet in later life this iconic figure argued that the human population should be restricted to 100,000 for the sake of the environment, and following his death his family have disagreed about how best to continue his work.

In this, Cousteau's centenary year, naturalist Bridget Nicholls tracks down friends, colleagues and family members to tell the story of this often difficult – occasionally impossible - but always inspiring man.

First broadcast on 19 November 2010.

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