PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 February, 2002, 12:00am

Shackleton: Breaking The Ice

Pearl, 11.50pm

This is the true story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's 1914 expedition to the South Pole and his epic struggle to lead his 28-man crew to safety after his ship, Endurance, was crushed in the packed ice.

Filming the story was quite a feat. From London to the sea-ice off Eastern Greenland where the cast and crew spent nearly two months living on an ice breaker, this programme provides a behind-the-scenes look at the trails and tribulations involved in filming the story.

It soon becomes clear that Shackleton is a massive undertaking. After reading public records, unpublished documents, ships' logs and original diaries of crew members, writer and director Charles Sturridge contacted 17 separate sets of relatives of the expedition members who provided personal information and previously unknown documentation. He also received unprecedented co-operation from members of Shackleton's own family. The result is an ambitious four-part drama starting next week. It begins in London in 1914 with Shackleton trying to raise funds for his expedition on the eve of World War I as well as struggling with a complex personal life and his brother's imprisonment for fraud and ends on the frozen wastes of the Antarctic. Featuring Kenneth Branagh (above), Lorcan Cranitch, Kevin McNally and Nicholas Rowe.