Skegness Sea Monster revealed to be BBC hoax named ‘Susan’ for Top Gear presenter James May’s Man Lab series

James May in a still from the episode. Courtesy of Plum Pictures Ltd.
James May in a still from the episode. Courtesy of Plum Pictures Ltd.

The mystery of the Skegness Sea Monster has been solved - after Top Gear presenter James May’s BBC2 show Man Lab last night revealed it had perpetrated the hoax.

In an extended tongue-in-cheek segment on the show’s series finale on Thursday, producers revealed how they had faked the sighting in a bid to boost the resort’s economy by giving it a monster to rival Loch Ness’ Nessie.

The video of the ‘monster’, which James May christened Susan, was hastily filmed by a member of the beach crew.

The shaky and blurry footage went viral - it now stands at over 1.1million page views on YouTube, and added an additional 50,000 views overnight following the revelation it had been faked.

Speaking on the show last night James May revealed how the ultra-secret stunt had been kept tightly under wraps in a bid to protect the video’s mystique.

In extraordinary lengths, the boat which launched ‘Susan’ even disembarked from the north Norfolk town of Wells-next-the-Sea in a bid to prevent any eagle-eyed Lincolnshire residents from spotting the ‘monster’ being loaded and offloaded.

But their carefully laid plans almost came to nothing when the ‘head’ of the monster fell off in the choppy waves off Skegness Beach.

Only one video of the monster ‘in action’ was taken before Susan’s premature demise - a hastily snapped one minute segment, which producers uploaded to YouTube.

The Skegness Standard picked up on the footage following a surge in views on YouTube, and wrote a tongue-in-cheek front-page piece about the mysterious sighting.

And history was in the making.

Speaking on the show last, James May said: “It was a devastating turn of events [when Susan’s head fell off].

“With Susan lost to Davy Jones our hopes of a monster-led Skegness-related economic miracle seemed sunk without trace.

“And that seemed to be the end of that; but actually, it wasn’t.

“You see, in a heart-felt tribute to our tragically lost monster one of our beach crew decided to upload the only existing footage we had of Susan in action; shortly before her head fell off.

“The crew weren’t prepared and, as a result, the footage was shaky, blurry and indistinct. In short, it was perfect.

“Slowly views started to increase and before we knew it was well into the hundreds.

He added: “And then we hit the headlines. The local Skegness paper picked up on the story and suddenly Susan was front-page news. The views leaped into the thousands.

He added that other websites started linking to their video of Susan and, after the nationals picked up on the story, the monster went global, with news organisations and websites across the planet covering the tale.

“What we had just about written off as a colossal failure had somehow become one of the biggest successes we have had on Man Lab,” said James.

Although the true ‘identity’ of Susan has now been unearthed, the tale of the Skegness Sea Monster isn’t quite over...

Man Lab is keen to rescue Susan’s head from Davy Jones and James May issued a plea for help in finding the head at the close of last night’s show.

The monster may not be real, but the monster hunt is just beginning...

To view the segment go to BBC iPlayer and begin watching at roughly 41 minutes and 45 seconds.