Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

Antarctic Midwinter Broadcast

Rothera base in Antarctica

Produced and presented for an audience of just 45 - the brave and hardy scientists and technical staff who keep the Antarctic bases of the British Antarctic Survey running through the long, cold darkness of the polar winter - the Antarctic Specials are possibly the World Service's most unusual broadcasts.

Once a year, on 21 June, staff at the four Antarctic bases - Rothera, Halley, King Edward Point and Bird Island - cluster round their shortwave radios to hear the BBC's Gabrielle Walker present half an hour of music requests and special messages from their loved ones back home.

There's a special message from surprise celebrity guests, and a somewhat eclectic selection of music.

This year the broadcast takes on a special significance for Gabrielle and producer Martin Redfern as they spent a month in Antarctica earlier in the year, reporting on research and visiting field sites and the Rothera base.

As a result, says Martin, "We feel we are talking to friends. We can imagine the scene down there.

And, although we were only there for a few weeks in Summer, we know how food fantasies turn to salad and fresh fruit!"

For more details about the work of the British Antarctic Survey visit their website.

If you are interested in this unusual broadcast and the life and work in Antarctica, listen to Martin Redfern's piece for From Your Own Correspondent.

Listen Listen to Midwinter Celebrations (5 mins)

First broadcast on 21 June 2008.