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Eight-part series exploring the achievements of some of the greatest figures of the 20th century. In this episode, the public decide who the greatest explorer was.

Eight-part series exploring the achievements and legacies of some of the greatest figures of the 20th century. Seven well-known advocates each front an hour-long documentary arguing the case for four people from a different field of human endeavour - leaders, explorers, scientists, entertainers, sports stars, artists and writers, and activists. At the end of each documentary the public vote for their favourite. The icon who wins the public vote in each category is put through to a live final, which sees all of the celebrity advocates return to fight their icon's case - the public then vote again for the person they believe was the greatest figure of the 20th century.

The 20th century was a time of extraordinary change. One hundred years of progress which shaped not only the society of the day, but generations to come. A century of seismic shifts, that saw countless breakthroughs and innovations, which would impact our world in ways never seen before. Behind this progress were incredible individuals who chose to defy convention, and in doing so changed the world forever. The life's work of these icons represent benchmarks now set for humanity - from scientists whose discoveries changed the life of billions and redefined what we know about our world to the sports stars and explorers who pushed the boundaries of what humankind thought possible - their stories represent the pinnacle of society's achievements.

The second in series charts the story of exploration in the 20th century. 20th-century exploration began with flag planting in the name of empire, and over the decades, improvements in technology saw explorers take on greater and greater challenges - pursuing prizes from the poles, to the highest points on earth - and beyond. The incredible individuals who took humankind to the limits of what was thought possible also oversaw an evolution - as time went on exploration went from a tool of empire, to one of cultural discovery and conservation. The story of exploration in the 20th century is one that took us from conquest to understanding.

As well as displaying almost superhuman bravery and courage, each of the four icons helped us see our world differently - far from being simply a race to the biggest prizes, some of the most valuable lessons learned from 20th Century explorers are not about unknown wonders, but about appreciating and preserving the world around us.

Dermot examines the lives of Ernest Shackleton, Gertrude Bell, Neil Armstrong and Jane Goodall. He uncovers their greatest achievements and explores their legacies.

Shackleton - From the Heroic Age of Exploration, Shackleton was not famed for a glorious victory, but his extraordinary humanity in the face of what might haven been one of exploration's greatest disasters.

Bell - Almost erased from history, Bell was a trailblazing adventurer and spent years learning about the intricate politics of the Middle-East before becoming the first woman to work for British Intelligence.

Armstrong - A daring test pilot and Korean War veteran, Armstrong became the focus of the whole world when he stepped out onto the moon and gave us a new perspective on the earth.

Goodall - The first person to successfully study chimps in the wild, Goodall set out to explore and chart the chimpanzees in their natural habitat in a remote part of Tanzania, and over the course of the next 40 years her work redefined humankind.

At the end of the programme, the public can vote for the greatest explorer of the century, who, along with the finalists from the other categories, will be put through to the live final at the end of the series.

59 minutes



Explore how impactful icons are and discover the truth behind their reputations

Explore how impactful icons are and discover the truth behind their reputations

Visit our interactive pages to uncover the real people behind iconic figures

Discover a free collection of portraits of iconic figures from the 20th century

Discover a free collection of portraits of iconic figures from the 20th century

Visit the Gallery and pick up a free booklet or download from the link above