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UK TV Show explores Freediving in “Hidden Talent”

Channel 4 in the UK are showing a brand new prime time TV Show called Hidden Talent that takes people with no prior experience will embark on a remarkable journey to take a newly discovered hidden talent to its limit. Nine participants across the course of the show will discover if they can go from being a total novice to a top class performer across a series of talents such as learning a language, freediving, opera singing and lie detection.

Starting on April 24th 2012 and hosted by Richard Bacon, viewers will be able to see how through the rigorous large-scale testing of hundreds of people around the country, overseen by scientists and academics, a number of people are found to have special physical, mental, sensory or creative talents that they were totally unaware of. A special panel of Hidden Talent experts take nine of these individuals under their wing, training and developing them to face extraordinary challenges, transforming their understanding of their own abilities and changing their lives forever.

Freediving Instructor Trainer and author of the book ‘One Breath, a Reflection on Freediving’, Emma Farrell is the series expert on freediving. She devised unique tests to find out if 900 members of the public had a hidden talent and then trained up the winning participant. ‘The first issue was that I had to get through up to 300 people a day, none of whom were allowed to know they were being tested for freediving, and in a room with no water!’ says Farrell. ‘I had to invent a test for equalisation that could be done anywhere and then use specific medical questions to determine if a person might be any good.’ ‘I looked for healthy ears, sinuses, and equalisation ability and then took 1-2 people each hour to perform a breath-hold walking test with a heart rate monitor to see if they had a strong ‘mammalian dive reflex.’ It was so exciting to see people with no knowledge of their hidden ability shine.’

Twelve candidates were then selected to join Farrell for in-water tests at Crystal Palace before six joined her for two days at Vobster Quay in Somerset for final in-water physical and psychological tests. Farrell then chose one to train up at Vobster Quay. ‘Although I can’t say who they are and what they did, I can say that I was incredibly proud of what they achieved in such a short space of time,’ says Farrell. ‘The project represented the first time ever that so many people have been tested for a latent ability to freedive and shows what amazing hidden talents are out there.’

The freediving episode is scheduled to be broadcast Tuesday 1st May  2012 at 9pm on Channel 4 and is followed by a live online chat with Farrell. To coincide with the launch of the episode, people can go online and take some of the tests themselves on Facebook at and also learn from Farrell an advanced equalisation technique known as the ‘Frenzel.’ A further episode featuring Farrell and the winning candidate will be shown on the 29th May 2012

Emma Farrell teaches freediving at Vobster Quay and organises freediving holidays overseas. She has taught TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to freedive for River Cottage and has appeared with Paul Rose on Britain’s Secret Seas.  She is the author of One Breath, A Reflection on Freediving. will be bringing you an exclusive interview with Emma Farrell in the next few weeks and take you behind the scenes of Hidden Talent of Freediving.

Stephan Whelan
Stephan Whelan
Stephan is the Founder of His passion for the underwater world started at 8 years old with a try-dive in a hotel pool on holiday that soon formulated into a lifelong love affair with the oceans. In 1996 he set up and has grown the site to be the most popular diving website and community in the world.