Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter: Episode Guide

Ross Kemp in full diving gear

Ross Kemp: Shipwreck Treasure Hunter sees the BAFTA award-winning documentary-maker dive on a series of incredible shipwrecks around the British coastline to reveal some of the nation’s murkiest and best-kept secrets.

From the remains of a slave ship discovered off Plymouth, to the Kaiser’s sunken Imperial Fleet in Scapa Flow and an experimental submarine aircraft carrier, which sank with all passengers and crew on deck during its sea trials, Ross uncovers Britain’s hidden maritime past.

Along with his fascination for seafaring history, Ross has a personal reason for undertaking this adventure as members of his family served at sea, with some being shipwrecked and not surviving to tell their tales. His great grandfather 'Pop' was in the Merchant Marines during World War II and survived being shipwrecked three times. Pop's two nephews both served and perished aboard HMS Hood when it went into battle against the Bismarck in May 1941.

Ross is joined in his adventures by expert diver Emily Turton, maritime archaeologist and professional diver Mallory Haas and dive supervisor Neil Brock as they delve down into Britain’s past.

Episode One: U-Boat Terror

Under the expert tutelage of dive supervisor Neil Brock, Ross completes his specialist SCUBA training. Inspired by the stories of his shipwrecked relatives, Ross heads up to the Royal Navy’s historic naval base in the far northerly Orkney Islands, Scapa Flow. Here, Ross and Neil link up with expert local dive guide Emily Turton and head out into the water to dive on wrecks from WWII.

Ross and Emily explore a captured German scout ship called the F2 and recover a slew of artefacts that could be linked to Ross’s two relatives who died serving in the Royal Navy during WWII. Ross investigates how Winston Churchill hit upon a revolutionary tactic to defend Scapa Flow from U- boat attacks, as the wreck of the sunken SS Tabarka finally gives up its secrets.

Episode Two: The Kaiser’s Sunken Fleet

To take on the deepest wrecks in Scapa Flow, Ross needs to successfully navigate decompression training, before heading out with local dive guide Emily Turton to dive on one of the biggest of the Kaiser’s Imperial war ships from World War I, SMS Karlsruhe. As he explores the eerie relic, Ross tries to understand how and why the German fleet ended up on the Scottish seabed, when they had already surrendered months earlier.

Having resolved one enduring mystery, he then heads 600 miles south to meet with ex-serviceman Mark Culwick, and dive on an experimental British aircraft carrier submarine built in the 1920s called the M2. This unique vessel was lost in shocking circumstances, with all hands. During his dive Ross starts to understand the horrifying truth of exactly how and why the 60 men on board never came home.

Episode Three: Slaver Ship Secrets

On the coast of north Devon, Ross is joined by Emily Turton, as he prepares to dive down on the wreck of sunken steam ship Iona II. The ship was heading to America in the early 1860s, when it went down with a mystery cargo on board that the owners went to extensive efforts to recover in secret. Ross hopes his night dive might reveal what they wanted back so badly but the wreck is shrouded in dense low visibility which hampers their investigations.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, Ross meets with a maritime historian who has uncovered the Iona II’s shocking purpose. His journey takes him to Plymouth to dive on a newly discovered wreck with maritime archaeologist Mallory Haas. This time, they uncover a staggering artefact that links the site to one of the most controversial and censored periods in British history – the transatlantic slave trade.

Episode Four: Gun Runners

Ross and Mallory dive down to the wreck site of 36-gun Nelsonian frigate HMS Amethyst, a legendary battle cruiser, launched in 1799, which proved one of the most successful and prolific of the Napoleonic wars. Ross makes an incredible find using an underwater metal detector, and the historic item reveals why the ship was such a potent weapon of war but also gives clues as to how and why it sank. It leads Ross, Mallory, and Neil to the 16th century Minera Tavern for a story of trickery and kidnapping by the Royal Navy.

In a final mystery in Plymouth Sound, Ross and Mallory dive on the wreck of a much more recent ship, the WW2 cargo ship, SS James Eagan Layne. The James Eagan Layne was torpedoed with its entire classified cargo on board, and Ross and Mallory plan to try and recover some of it. This is a mission close to Ross’ heart, since his great-grandfather, Arthur ‘Pop’ Chalmers, was in the Merchant Marine. All does not go to plan, however, as deep inside the interior of the giant wreck, Ross’s dive equipment develops a serious fault.