Pirate Ship… Live!

pirate ship… live!

Comedian and actor Vic Reeves presents a special two-hour programme telling the story of the Whydah– a pirate ship that sank off Cape Cod nearly 300 years ago. A dive on the wreck – the only authenticated wreck of a pirate vessel in the world – forms the live element of the programme, while specially shot dramatic reconstructions tell the story of notorious pirate captain Black Sam Bellamy and his crew. Joining Vic will be copresenter June Sarpong who will link between the dive action and the onshore revelations.

In a unique TV experiment, marine archaeologists in Cape Cod plan to dive on the wreck and salvage pirate booty live on air. Barry Clifford and his team hope to bring viewers real treasure recovered from an unexplored area of the wreck that appears to contain masses of mineralized objects.

Just as the divers were closing down their operation for winter last year, they stumbled across a section of the wreck set apart from the previously dived areas. They believe they have finally discovered the famously documented “mother lode” of treasure –wooden chests hidden between the ship’s decks containing hundreds of bags of coins, ingots, ivory and jewels. These treasures are mentioned in the accounts of Peter Hoof, a pirate who survived the wreck. He tells of the “money which was counted over in the cabin and put up in bags –50 pounds [weight] to every man’s share.”

The fact that the Whydahlay untouched under 20 feet of sand for so long means that it is the only ‘time capsule’ of pirate history ever found. In the months before the ship sank in 1717, the pirate crew looted 54 other ships and stored their treasures, leaving an unprecedented cross section of 18th-century cultural material –and an almost unimaginable task of excavation. Pirate Ship… Live! will follow the experts as they X-ray the mysterious concretions brought up from the seabed which could contain anything from bones to gold dust.

Through a mixture of live broadcast from the dive site, dramatic reconstructions and CGI technology, Pirate Ship… Live! will flow between the modernday adventures of the archaeologists and scientists, and those of the formidable Black Sam Bellamy and his lawless pirate crew.

  • BBC One
  • BBC Two
  • BBC Three
  • ITV1
  • ITV2
  • 4
  • E4
  • Film4
  • More4
  • Five
  • Fiver
  • Sky1