It was an incredible video which became an internet sensation, seen by millions of people worldwide and even attracted the Twitter attention of pop megastar Lady Gaga.
And now, the heartwarming tale of a surfing seal off the coast of Amble, which was captured on film by two amazed surfers, will form part of the next episode of Robson Green’s More Tales from Northumberland.
Matty Stanley, from Amble, and Andrew Flounders, of Morpeth, admit they could not believe their eyes when the creature mounted their boards several times while they were in the water last August.
The amazing footage from an onboard camera showed the apprentice surfer making numerous attempts to balance on the board, before slipping off into the sea. But the plucky animal didn’t give up that easily and eventually managed to hone its surfing skills.
The seal then sat pretty on both boards, almost posing for the camera. In the video, which was collated by Matty, the creature actually rode a wave itself and swam into knee-deep water.
The online footage sparked a huge response around the world and it seems that one of the video’s biggest fans was Robson himself. So much so, he was desperate to meet the pair to find out more and include the surfing seal story in his primetime ITV show.
Andrew, 49, said: “Robson seemed to really love the story. It had been pointed out to him and he seemed genuinely excited about it, thinking it was a cracking thing to happen in Northumberland. “He really wanted to know the ins and outs of what happened and the producers said he was keen to cover it because it was very different to the other stuff he has covered.”
The YouTube video attracted more than two million online views in less than a week, while Poker Face singer Lady Gaga shared the footage via Twitter, describing the plucky seal as the ‘cutest thing I’ve ever seen’.
On top of that, the story was picked up by media around the world, as well as surfing websites such as Carve and Surfer Magazine.
Matty, 24, admits that the attention has died down slightly since then, but anticipates that there could be another wave of interest after Monday night’s More Tales from Northumberland episode, which starts at 8pm.
He said: “Every so often the interest in the video makes a resurgence and we have been told to brace ourselves again because people will probably start to YouTube it after the show, which I know is watched by millions of people.
“I have to say that Robson was really interested in the story and he couldn’t quite believe what had happened. He was asking how we reacted and he admitted that something like this doesn’t happen very often.”
The surfing seal story isn’t the only thing to feature in the upcoming episode. The third chapter of the eight-part second series will see Robson travel by canoe along the River Coquet to discover its rare wildlife and hidden history.
He visits the Warkworth Hermitage, an ancient chapel accessible only by boat, and also stops off at Warkworth Castle, before heading to Coquet Island by kayak.
Ellen Puddephatt, who is an historic properties steward at Warkworth Castle and Hermitage, took Robson to the Hermitage.
The 23-year-old from the village said: “He was quite astonished by the Hermitage and he thought it was amazing to see. There is a story behind the Hermitage and he was very taken with it.”
Ellen believes that the show will help to bring more people to the area and encourage visitors to explore the Hermitage.
More Tales from Northumberland, which launched on Monday, February 16, follows Robson as he explores parts of the county that he’s never been to before - and some he didn’t even know existed.
Episodes one and two have seen the Hexham-born star try his hand at Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling at Powburn Show and a sunrise skinny-dip at Druridge Bay, among other things. The first episode was watched by around four million people.