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Listen Now: Hooked on Freddie

Bad Batch


Exhibit C, Dr. Death, Stem Cells, Society & Culture, Health & Fitness, Medicine, News, Wondery, Liveyon, Laura Beil

4.48.8K Ratings

🗓️ 18 September 2023

⏱️ 6 minutes

🧾️ Download transcript


Did one man’s friendship with a dolphin go way – way – too far? It’s 1987 and the British seaside town of Amble has seen much better days. So when a wild bottlenose dolphin nicknamed Freddie appears in the harbour, it feels like a miracle. Everyone wants to swim with him. But Freddie chooses one person above all others: Alan Cooper, a dedicated animal rights activist committed to freeing captive dolphins. But when Alan’s friendship with Freddie is turned against him, he finds himself in the fight of his life.

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Picture the scene. It's 1987, and a seaside town of Amble in the north of England has seen


much better days. It's cold, tired, and run down.


So when a wild dolphin appears in the harbor, it's the miracle everyone's been waiting for.


He's like a ray of light. The locals in Amble love him and name him Freddie.


Freddie loves them all back, but his favorite playmate is Alan Cooper, a committed animal


rights activist. Alan and the wild dolphins swim together for hundreds of magical hours


and a beautiful friendship is born. But when Alan is accused of taking his friendship


with the dolphin too far, he finds himself at the center of a tabloid scandal that grips


Britain and ends in one of the most bizarre court cases in legal history. You're about


to hear a clip from the new podcast Hooked on Freddie. If you'd like to hear more, search


for Hooked on Freddie wherever you get your podcasts.


September the 28th, 1990, is a fine day in Amble, a small coastal town on the tip of North


East England. But we're not in the town. We're about a quarter of a mile out in the North


Sea. A man's in the water wearing a wetsuit with yellow arms and he's just hanging there alone.


His name is Alan Cooper. And at first yes, he is all alone, but then something dark moves


at speed under the water. Circles, disappears and then resurples. Now we can see him.


It's a wild dolphin, a bottle nose and he wants to play. He twists onto his side, inviting


Alan to take hold of his dorsal fin. He will start to dive. Just go straight down


for about 20 feet and then come swiftly back up and you both explode out the water. It's


just out of this world, you know. I was in this time and I'm alright. Just something special.


That's when 10 hours didn't get worse than that. Yeah, if you could buckle up feeling and


sell it, you'd be a millionaire. Then Alan hears something in the distance, a boat coming


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