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Steve Backshall was left with "blood running out of my ears" after a dive went wrong during the filming of his new documentary series Shark with Steve Backshall.
The 48-year-old adventurer is fronting the new series for Sky, in which he travels the world to find out about the diversity of sharks and the way their lives are being threatened by human activity.
Backshall told The Mirror he was diving with a whale shark on one occasion during filming when something went seriously wrong.
He said: "I had a bit of a cold and I free dived straight down onto the whale shark and perforated both my eardrums and came racing up to the surface in agonising pain and jumped out.
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"There was blood running out of my ears and I was in agony and there was a bloody great whale shark at the back of the boat, just there in the water.”
Backshall said his first thought was for the shoot, which required them to get the footage of the whale shark while they could.
He was thankful that the shark was still in the area after an hour, which enabled him to give the dive another go.
Backshall said: "I put some earbuds in, to stop the water actually going into my head, and jumped into the water and we got our sequence — in agonising pain and with bleeding ears."
The presenter confessed he was quizzed on the circumstances when he returned to the UK, visiting an ear specialist.
He confessed: "[The doctor] said: ‘When you perforate your eardrums, there will be no diving for you for the next two or three months'.
"He then asked: ‘You didn’t get back in the water, did you?’ And I went: ‘Er, no! Certainly not'."
Backshall has fronted dozens of nature and wildlife programmes over the course of a 20-year career on TV screens, mostly for the BBC.
Shark with Steve Backshall is due to air on Sky from 7 November.
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