Birds Of Paradise: The Ultimate Quest

Ep 1/2

Friday 3 February



With Frank Gardner and Benedict Allen.

BBC Security Correspondent Frank Gardner has dreamed of seeing Birds of Paradise since he was a young child. But that dream died in 2004 when Frank was shot by terrorists, and he has been using a wheelchair ever since. A chance meeting with explorer Benedict Allen changed everything.

Thirty years ago Benedict lived in Papua New Guinea with the Niowra, a remote people. They thought he would live among them forever but he left the community. Intent on returning three decades later, Benedict pledges to take Frank with him. Together they set out on an incredible journey through some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet, through swamps, mountains and crocodile infested waters, to make it up into the cloud forest where the birds live.

Benedict is determined to get Frank there despite the wheelchair. But as they approach Benedict’s old village, brutal secrets from the past come back to haunt him. And Frank hears that in nearby hills he might get an early sighting of a Bird of Paradise.

Pictured: Benedict Allen and Frank Gardner overlooking the rainforest, with the coast in the background. Taken on the journey from Wewak to Pagwi.