STEVE Backshall is a naturalist, explorer, TV presenter and writer. His TV shows include Deadly 60, being part of the expedition teams in Lost Land of the Tiger, Lost Land of the Volcano, Deadly Dinosaurs and Lost Land of the Jaguar.

He has published a series of children’s books and three adult non-fiction works. Now Steve brings his love of the sea to a live tour, Ocean, heading for Bradford this autumn.

* What should audiences expect from Ocean? Steve says: “I’m bringing the ocean’s aquatic environments and marine creatures to life on stage by using a giant screen featuring amazing footage from my encounters with sharks, whales and dolphins over the years. There will be on-stage science experiments, using props, stunts and tricks plus some outtakes too. Also, some life-size scale ocean giants that we’ll be bringing out on stage, which I think really helps because it’s very difficult to get a sense of how big these animals really are. Being able to replicate that on stage is a big part of the show.”

* Why did you choose the ocean as your subject? “First of all, the ocean and the animals that live there are my absolute passion. Secondly, it’s a part of the world that is a mystery to most people. There are so many of the secrets of the seas that people just don’t begin to know anything about. And thirdly, it’s probably the part of our planet that’s at the most at risk right now. The show is very much based around the most iconic animals in our oceans and how they function and what makes them special. But I will also be talking a bit about the challenges they face and that broader environments in the oceans face as well.”

* What are you hoping to achieve with the on-stage stunts? “We’ve done quite a lot of this sort of thing on my kids’ television programmes over the years, I find it’s a really effective way of illustrating an area of animal biology that perhaps otherwise might be beyond our imagination. The classic would be that I can say 1,000 times over that the biggest blue whale ever was 32 metres long and weighed 200 tonnes, but nobody knows what that means. It’s not until you actually take a jumbo jet and you saw its wings off, and you say, ‘right, it’s that big and it weighs that much’ that people get it.”

* So you want to make this exotic wildlife relatable? “Yes. It’s about finding things which are familiar to people and they perhaps they may see in their everyday life that connect to how a jellyfish stings or how the tail of a thresher shark may take down its prey. It’s going to be a bit of magic show, a bit of TED Talk, a bit of panto thrown in. I’m very much hoping to make people laugh, then cry then think, then think some more and laugh again because I have just covered myself in whale poop.”

* Why is the ocean is your favourite place on the planet? “So many of my best wildlife experiences have been in the ocean. Whether freediving alongside a female sea lion who’s dancing wingtip to fingertip with me underwater and practically nuzzling my mask as we swim alongside each other and pirouetting underwater like some kind of marine ballerina, through to seeing a tiny flamboyant cuttlefish no bigger than the end of my thumb hunting mysid shrimp on the bottom of the sea before putting on a hypnotic light display that would rival any nightclub. And then, having a humpback whale swim alongside you underwater, a big female being chased by 15 males all rocketing along, beating the living daylights out of each other to try and get their girl, or seeing flying fish skimming in front of your boat as you travel through every sea from Antarctica, to the tropics to the Arctic. The ocean is a place that’s full of surprises, always invigorating. I want to bring that to life on stage.”

* Do you have a favourite marine animal? “I think the Orca would be my favourite. There is so much about them that we don’t understand, yet they have an awful lot in common with us. They’re an air breathing mammal that breast feeds its young. But also an animal that that has culture and language and community, that grieves for its dead and fears for, cares for and educates its young. They’re a creature that can be apparently cruel, but also altruistic. There’s so much about them that I find fascinating. I could study them for a lifetime and still not really understand them.”

* There is so much still to be discovered underwater, isn’t there? “I’ve done well over 1,000 dives just with sharks, and I’ve done that triple that number of normal dives. And yet I’ve never been into the world’s biggest environment, which is the deep ocean. That whole vast abyssal plane and the grand ocean trenches beyond that, I almost certainly will never see.”

* What’ s the major threat to the oceans? “Plastic pollution is probably most heavy in people’s minds, and it is unquestionably a massive problem, particularly for marine wildlife. Overfishing, mass-scale trawling, longlining, and dredging are extraordinarily destructive too. They’re probably the biggest threats of all. Beyond that is climate change, and the things that come with it: ocean acidification, sea ice melting, and sea levels rising. I will be delving into all of those things in the show, but they are not going to dominate the narrative. I want this to be a show that is all about positivity, that is empowering, that places the tools of change in people’s hands and gives everyone an idea of things they can do to make the oceans better.”

* Steve Backshall’s Ocean, is at St George’s Hall on November 2. Visit