Dolphins - Spy in the Pod

Dolphins - Spy in the Pod is a British factual television series that was first broadcast on BBC One on 2 January 2014. The two-part series was narrated by David Tennant and produced by John Downer Productions.[1][2] The series was also broadcast by Discovery Channel in the US.[3]

Dolphins - Spy in the Pod
BBC Dolphins DVD.jpg
Directed byJohn Downer
Narrated byDavid Tennant
Country of originUnited Kingdom
Original language(s)English
No. of series1
No. of episodes2 (list of episodes)
Producer(s)Robert Pilley
Running time60 minutes
Production company(s)John Downer Productions
Original network
Picture format16:9 1080i
Original release2 January (2014-01-02) –
9 January 2014 (2014-01-09)
Preceded byPenguins: Spy in the Huddle
External links
Production website


Approximately 900 hours of filming took place over the course of one year.[4] Remote-control underwater "spy cameras" disguised as sea creatures - including dolphins, ray, sea turtle, tuna, squid, nautilus and puffer fish - allowed the film-makers to get close-up footage of natural dolphin behaviour. Bottlenose dolphins, spinner dolphins, humpback dolphins and killer whales were filmed for the series.[5] The documentary is known for speculating that dolphins "deliberately get high on puffer fish toxins".[6][7][8][9]

Episode listEdit

# Title Directed by Original air date UK viewers
1"Episode 1"John Downer2 January 2014 (2014-01-02)5.29
2"Episode 2"John Downer9 January 2014 (2014-01-09)3.56 (overnight)



The first episode was watched by 20.4% of the viewing audience.[11] According to overnight figures, the second episode was watched by 3.56 million viewers, with an audience share of 15.1%.[12]

Critical receptionEdit

Ellen E. Jones of The Independent compared the second episode to "the visual equivalent of one of those "Sounds of the Ocean" CDs that insomniacs use to drift off. Nothing but calm blue seas as far as the eye can see, and the soothing Scots coo of narrator David Tennant."[13] Benji Wilson of The Daily Telegraph also gave it four stars out of five and said his only criticism was its format being too similar to Penguins: Spy in the Huddle, a BBC series broadcast the previous year.[14] The Guardian's Sam Wollaston called the narration "punny".[15]

In February 2014, animal rights campaigners from Animal Defenders International accused the film-makers of exploiting a captive dolphin at a marine park in Honduras to obtain some of the footage used in the series. The claims were rejected by the BBC and John Downer Productions, as the dolphin used was a tame individual free to move in the open ocean and the marine park.[16]

Home mediaEdit

The series was released on DVD on 10 February 2014 and on Blu-ray on 17 February 2014.[17][18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Dolphins – Spy In The Pod". BBC. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  2. ^ Fletcher, Alex (9 January 2014). "David Tennant narrates Spy in the Pod: Watch dolphins getting high". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  3. ^ "Discovery Channel unveils 2014-2015 upfront slate". Discovery. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  4. ^ Logarta, Michael (11 January 2014). "Docu reveals dolphins chew, pass around puffer fish to experience 'high'". GMA News. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  5. ^ "Dolphins - Spy in the Pod". John Downer Productions. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  6. ^ Graham, Daniella (30 December 2013). "Dolphins 'deliberately getting high on puffer fish toxins'". Metro. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  7. ^ Blundell, Nigel (29 December 2013). "Pass the puffer, Flipper: dolphins high on toxic fish". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  8. ^ Withnall, Adam (30 December 2013). "Dolphins 'deliberately get high' on puffer fish nerve toxins by carefully chewing and passing them around". The Independent. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  9. ^ "Dolphins 'getting high' on puffer fish, zoologist Rob Pilley says". 30 December 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  10. ^ "BARB Top 30s".
  11. ^ Eames, Tom (3 January 2014). "Birds of a Feather returns with over 7.5 million on ITV". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  12. ^ Eames, Tom (10 January 2014). "Birds of a Feather's second episode stays strong for ITV on Thursday". Digital Spy. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  13. ^ Jones, Ellen (10 January 2014). "Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, BBC1 - TV review". The Independent. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  14. ^ Wilson, Benji (2 January 2014). "Dolphins: Spy in the Pod, BBC One, review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  15. ^ Wollaston, Sam (3 January 2014). "PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster; Dolphins – Spy in the Pod – TV review". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  16. ^ Mathews, Jane (20 February 2014). "BBC accused of using dolphin from marine park for Spy in the Pod". The Daily Express. Retrieved 7 June 2014.
  17. ^ "Dolphins Spy in the Pod (DVD)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Dolphins Spy in the Pod (Blu-ray)". BBC Shop. Retrieved 17 February 2014.

External linksEdit

Radio Times, Dolphins - Spy in the Pod