A thrilling investigation into whale science and animal communication, and a poignant look at how science may change our relationship with animals forever.
In 2015, wildlife filmmaker Tom Mustill was whale watching when a humpback breached onto his kayak and nearly killed him. A video clip of the event went viral, and Tom found himself inundated with theories about what happened. He became obsessed with trying to find out what the whale had been thinking. He wished he could just ask it. In the process of making a film about his experience, he discovered that might not be such a crazy idea.
Developments in natural science and AI mean that we are closer than ever to genuinely talking to animals. Scientists and start-ups across Silicon Valley and beyond are working to turn the fantasy of Dr Doolittle into a reality, using powerful new technologies to try to decode the languages of animals. Whales, with their giant mammalian brains and sophisticated languages, offer one of the most realistic opportunities for us to do so. But what would the consequences of such human-animal interaction be? We'd open a Pandora's Box that could never be closed.
How to Speak Whale is a lively, wide-ranging investigation into animal communication that explores how close we truly are to communicating with another species, and – if we were to make meaningful contact – how it would impact the world we live in.
Tom Mustill is a producer, director and writer specialising in stories of where people and nature meet. His work with David Attenborough, Greta Thunberg, Stephen Fry and conservation and science heroes across the globe have won over 30 international awards, including two Webbys, a Wildscreen Panda, two Jackson Wild Awards and been nominated for a Primetime Emmy. He directed on the blockbuster Inside Nature's Giants series which won a BAFTA, Royal Television Society and Broadcast award, as well as the ZSL Award for Communicating Zoology.