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The Whale

Dramatic retelling of the fateful last voyage of the Nantucket whaleship Essex, which was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in November 1820, sending her crew on an epic journey.

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.

1 hour, 30 minutes

Last on

Sun 22 Dec 2013 21:00

More about whales

More about whales
The mighty sperm whale is a multiple record-breaker. It is the largest of the toothed whales with some males reaching 20 metres in length. Find out more about these fascinating creatures.

Credits

Role Contributor
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
Producer Mike Dormer
Director Alrick Riley
Writer Terry Cafolla

Broadcast