By Corrie Glanville
With narration by actor Liam Neeson, this award-winning documentary on Ernest Shackleton’s 1914-16 expedition to Antarctica in an effort to be the first man to cross the entire continent includes new footage of the actual locations and interviews with surviving relatives of Shackleton’s crew. Along with still photos taken at the time, the documentary features archived audio interviews with expedition members.
Using first hand accounts from the men on the expedition, director Charles Sturidge’s dramatization stays meticulously close to historical fact. With a stellar performance by Kenneth Branagh in the lead, the film was shot on actual ice floes in Greenland to recreate the look of the surviving photos. Branagh manages to capture both the enormous ego of Shackleton as well as his absolute determination to keep all of his men alive in this riveting mini-series.
Prior to Ernest Shackleton’s famed journey to Antarctica, British Captain Robert F. Scott and his Norwegian rival, Roald Amundsen raced each other to the South Pole in 1911. This thrilling Masterpiece Theatre series from the late 1980s features Martin Shaw as Scott and portrays the extreme temperatures, suffering and exhaustion of the 1,500 mile trek across the desolate tundra. You also might recognize a young Hugh Grant as Apsley Cherry-Garrard, one of the few English survivors of the journey.