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The Secrets of Scott's Hut
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It takes a lot to render Ben Fogle speechless. But the scene in this fine documentary where he enters Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s Antarctic base for the first time is all the better for being almost entirely without words, as the presenter takes in the eerily preserved 100-year-old time capsule, complete with its stores of ketchup and turtle soup, its racks of test-tubes, its paraffin lamps, reindeer sleeping bags and one dead penguin.
The base was less the “hut“ that Scott called it than
a good-sized wooden bungalow, sleeping the 25 men of Scott’s 1910—13 expedition to the South Pole. The place reeks of Edwardian life: officers and men even had separate toilets. But Fogle is keen to drag the Scott myth back from recent accounts of a stubborn, divisive snob towards his former status as doomed national hero.
Fogle retells the tragic story in a completely absorbing and fresh way, thanks to the amazing objects in the hut (currently being painstakingly conserved), diary extracts and the evocative pictures of expedition photographer Herbert Ponting.
Ben Fogle travels to Antarctica, where he joins a project hoping to preserve the hut from which explorer Captain Robert Scott launched his ill-fated polar expedition in 1911. The building, located on the remote Cape Evans, has remained practically untouched and contains thousands of items left behind by Scott and his team. The programme also features extracts from the explorer's diaries, read by Kenneth Branagh, as well as contributions by David Attenborough and Ranulph Fiennes.
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