Press Office

Wednesday 24 Sep 2014

Press Release

BBC One joins Prince Harry and wounded soldiers in Arctic trek

Private Jaco Van Gass, Captain Guy Disney, Segeant Steve Young, Captain Martin Hewitt © Robert Leveritt Photography

BBC One has been given exclusive access to film a special expedition undertaken by Prince Harry and a team of wounded servicemen as they attempt a gruelling 200-mile charity trek to the North Pole.

With no back-up vehicles or doctors, the team will be pulling all the equipment and supplies they need for the duration of their four-week expedition over the toughest terrain in the world.

The team includes Afghanistan veterans Captain Martin Hewitt (29), Captain Guy Disney (28), Sergeant Steve Young (28) and Private Jaco Van Gass (26).

All of the soldiers suffered debilitating life-changing injuries, including the loss of limbs, during active service. They will be accompanied by two expedition leaders and a Norwegian polar guide. They have all been on a punishing training schedule in order to be fit for the ultimate test of mental and physical stamina.

The BBC One documentary will follow how the servicemen have risen to this challenge.

Prince Harry is the patron of Walking With The Wounded, the charity organising the expedition. He will join the team on the ice for the first leg of the expedition when for a week he will be pulling his own sledge, sharing tent-pitching and food preparation duties and facing the same gruelling Arctic conditions as his fellow servicemen.

Expedition Patron Prince Harry comments: "What the Walking with the Wounded North Pole Team is undertaking is an enormous adventure of the most challenging order. I'm delighted that their training has been going well so far, and that they feel prepared for the task ahead.

"The funds that Walking with the Wounded will – I hope – raise, with the public's support, will make a life-changing difference to injured servicemen and women from our Armed Forces, retraining and reskilling them for their own challenging futures."

The expedition kicks off this month and the soldiers aim to reach the North Pole by the end of April.

They will face a constant battle with ice and wind storms which would test the most able-bodied of Arctic explorers. For these wounded veterans the challenge will be immense.

Captain Martin Hewitt says: "Through this expedition we aim to demonstrate to injured servicemen and women of all ranks that you can achieve great things post injury. Our training is complete and now it's time to freeze! I'm confident that our team is well prepared for the challenges ahead. We've had great support from all involved and we're honoured to have Prince Harry, our patron, joining us on the ice."

BBC executive producer Alison Kirkham says: "Bringing the stories of these incredibly brave soldiers to a BBC One audience is a privilege.

"We are delighted to have been granted this exclusive access to cover their epic and demanding challenge, which will also feature Prince Harry. We hope our viewers will find their journey both inspiring and compelling."

The documentary Harry's Arctic Heroes will be shown on BBC One later in the year.

Notes to Editors

The documentary is being made by Twofour Broadcast. Producer/director is Alexis Girardet; Executive Producers for Twofour are Bridget Sneyd and Melanie Leach.

The series was commissioned by Alison Kirkham, Commissioning Editor for Factual Features – Formats, BBC One and BBC Two.

Walking With The Wounded, the charity which has organised the fundraising expedition, aims to reintegrate wounded servicemen and women successfully back into civilian life.

The charity is working with the Army Recovery Capability providing funding for the retraining and re-skilling of wounded soldiers through existing schemes such as The Warrior Programme, BLESMA and Skill Force and Help for Heroes. All these charities work towards helping the rehabilitation of injured servicemen.

BR/LS2

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