Last updated: 20 june, 2011 - 13:12 GMT

Antarctic midwinter broadcast 2011

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Produced and presented for an audience of just 43 - 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, in the dark days of the southern winter, staff at the four Antarctic bases - Rothera, Halley, King Edward Point and Bird Island - cluster round their short-wave radios to hear the BBC present half an hour of music requests and special messages from their loved ones back home.

A penguin in the Antarctic

The Antarctic specials are possibly the World Service's most unusual broadcasts

There's special messages from surprise celebrity guests, and a selection of music that reveals a deep longing for sunshine.

This year the broadcast is presented by Martin Redfern, who was fortunate to spend a month in Antarctica three years ago, 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 click website.

First broadcast on 21 June 2011

Produced by Esme Richardson

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