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Of Ice and Men

Timeshift, Series 11 Episode 7 of 12

Timeshift reveals the history of the frozen continent, finding out why the most inhospitable place on the planet has exerted such a powerful hold on the imagination of explorers, scientists, writers and photographers.

Antarctica is the coldest, driest and windiest place on the globe. Only a handful of people have experienced its desolate beauty, with the first explorers setting foot here barely a hundred years ago.

From the logbooks of Captain Cook to the diaries of Scott and Shackleton, from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner to HP Lovecraft, it is a film about real and imaginary tales of adventure, romance and tragedy that have played out against a stark white backdrop.

We relive the race to the Pole and the 'Heroic Age' of Antarctic exploration, and find out what it takes to survive the cold and the perils of 'polar madness'. We see how Herbert Ponting's photographs of the Scott expedition helped define our image of the continent and find out why the continent witnessed a remarkable thaw in Russian and American relations at the height of the Cold War.

We also look at the intriguing story of who actually owns Antarctica and how science is helping us re-imagine a frozen wasteland as something far more precious.

Interviewees include Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Francis Spufford, Huw Lewis-Jones, Sara Wheeler, Henry Worsley, Prof David Walton and Martin Hartley.

1 hour

On TV

Thursday 00:20

Credits

Role Contributor
NarratorRobert Gwilym
Executive ProducerMichael Poole
Series ProducerBen Southwell
ProducerRobert Murphy
DirectorRobert Murphy

Timeshift video collections

Timeshift collections: Promo

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