Chasing Shackleton

(Rochester, NY)— Chasing Shackleton, a new three-part series about a modern expedition that follows the path of history’s most extraordinary survival story, premieres Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV. The series follows a crew of five intrepid explorers led by renowned adventurer, scientist and author Tim Jarvis as they re-create Shackleton’s epic sea-and-land voyage in a replica of the original explorers’ boat, using only the tools and supplies his team used.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition, which launched in 1914, met with disaster when his ship The Endurance was crushed by arctic ice and sank.  His heroic leadership in the face of almost certain death saved the lives of 27 men stranded in the Antarctic for more than 500 days, and has inspired explorers and leaders across every continent over many generations.

Jarvis’ team’s recreation included crossing the treacherous Southern Ocean from Elephant Island to South Georgia (800 nautical miles) in a small wooden boat while battling gales, rough seas and stomach-churning swells.  Once on land, the crew faced weather conditions they described as “Scotland on steroids” — simultaneous high winds, torrential rain, snow, hail and ice. When the weather eased, Jarvis and two teammates (Barry Gray and Paul Larsen) trekked inland to reach an old whaling station at Stromness on South Georgia, traversing an icy, crevasse-riddled mountain range in unmapped territory, the route Shackleton and his men took as their only hope for rescue almost a century ago.

“Every time we thought we’d won, another obstacle presented itself,” Jarvis said, referring to several incidents shown in Chasing Shackleton, including the crew’s encounter with a lake they expected to be a glacier (it had since melted) and a home-stretch climb that led to a nearly impassable, 1000-foot drop that took three terrifying hours to descend.

“This is among the most exciting adventure programs we’ve ever presented,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager, General Audience Programming, PBS.  “Chasing Shackleton combines elements our audiences love, from a ripping, real-life yarn, to science, history and exploration.”

“We are so pleased to be working with PBS on this unique project,” said Sam Maynard, Executive Producer at Raw. “It has been an incredible undertaking to film this modern-day exploration of a true story of unparalleled bravery and physical endurance.”

Chasing Shackleton is part of PBS’ ongoing commitment to present the best science and nature programs on television, and is produced by Raw TV for Discovery Communications Europe and PBS.  The program is executive produced by Elizabeth McIntyre and Helen Hawken for Discovery Networks Western Europe and Kathryn Taylor, Sam Maynard and Dimitri Doganis for Raw TV. Overseen for PBS by Donald H. Thoms, Vice President, General Audience Programming.

Credit: Courtesy of Ed Wardle





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