The English Channel is the world’s busiest waterway: 400 ships pass through the 21-mile-wide Dover Strait every day. It defines our border with Europe, but has brought us closer to it: the free flow of goods and people has transformed our economy and our lives. But as our relationship with the continent changes, these are uncertain times for the people who live and work these waters.
Ambitious access-all-areas four part series, The World’s Busiest Waterway, premiering on Wednesday 29 November at 9.00pm on Channel 4, goes inside the Channel Tunnel, on board ferries and freighters, through our highly-fortified border, and into the hidden nerve-centres that keep the whole system moving. And the maintenance workers, engineers, sea pilots and ship’s captains – who move 17 million of us across the sea every year – reveal how the Channel works.
The first episode captures the Channel’s rush hour: two weeks in summer when freight lorries share the ferries with 250,000 holidaymakers. Ferry captain Mark is trying to steer his 35,000-tonne ship, the Delft Seaways, across the world’s busiest sea lanes, while dealing with drunken passengers. Then high winds blow the ship into the pier at Dover. Sea pilot Tony must steer the world’s longest container ship, the MOL Trust, as it carries half a billion pounds’ worth of goods through the Channel’s sandbanks and shallows. And cross-Channel swimmer Naomi attempts to navigate her way across this maritime motorway in unforgiving conditions.
Series Director: Owen Gower
Series Producer: Will Rowson
Executive Producers: Alistair Pegg, Jon Stephens, Ed Coulthard
Production Company: Blast! Films
The Channel: The World’s Busiest Waterway Episode 1 (of 4) airs Wednesday 29 November 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on Channel 4.