24 January 2023

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Channel 5

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Channel 5 has today announced a brand-new three-part series fronted by intrepid adventurer Ben Fogle, Endurance: Race to the Pole (w/t) sees the presenter return to Antarctica to re-live the Edwardian expeditions of Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen. The series was ordered by Denise Seneviratne, Commissioning Editor, Non-Scripted UK Originals, Channel 5 & Paramount+ and will be produced by October Films. 

In 2009, explorer Ben Fogle defied his doubters and skied over 750km to the South Pole, pipped to the post by a Norwegian team.  That life changing experience left him with one big question: how did the first, legendary polar explorers conquer that savage landscape?  

In Endurance: Race to the Pole (w/t) (3 x 60’), Ben will return to Antarctica in search of these answers and experience first-hand some of the extremes that his polar heroes endured in their quest to conquer the unknown. 

Whilst telling the extraordinary story of the race to the South Pole, Ben will re-live key moments of Scott’s, Shackleton’s and Amundsen’s contrasting expeditions in the early 1900s, using only their Edwardian equipment, food supplies and shelter.  Immersing himself in their world, Ben will step back in time to bring the Channel 5 audience the most visceral and revealing insight into these exceptional men and their obsession with conquering the South Pole. There will also be a compelling dual narrative of Ben’s own experience alongside polar explorer Dwayne Fields who will accompany him on the journey.

Facing the physical and psychological real-life experiences that Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen lived through, Ben will understand the underlying heroism and sacrifice that made these men exceptional, despite their character flaws, their bitter rivalries, and their fatal mistakes. Ultimately, revealing why Amundsen triumphs, and why Shackleton and Scott fail, and Scott paid with his life. 

As Ben celebrates the bravery of his polar heroes, he will also draw attention to their most important and legacy: opening up Antarctica’s unique role in highlighting our perilous ambitions for sustainability, seeing today’s stark reminders of how delicate our planet is.

Ben Fogle says: “This is a dream project for me. I have held a lifelong fascination with this period of heroic polar exploration and now I get the chance to experience immersive, living history myself by wearing the same clothes, eating the same type of food, pulling the same style sled and sleeping in the same canvas tent. This will give me a better understanding about the heroics and the sacrifices made by these brave men more than a hundred years ago in one of the harshest most unforgiving places on earth. Having raced to the pole myself in 2008 wearing modern equipment, now I get to experience the harsh Antarctic wilderness as they did.”

Denise Seneviratne, Commissioning Editor, Non-Scripted UK Originals, Channel 5 & P+, said:  “We are thrilled to be continuing our relationship with Ben at Channel 5. This ambitious adventure will really push him to his limits and open up our understanding of the real heroics behind polar exploration, past and present. This series is immersive, experiential history which I think will really capture the imagination of our viewers .”

Endurance: Race to the Pole (w/t)(3 x 60’) was commissioned by Denise Seneviratne for Channel 5. It will be produced by October Films. The series will be Directed by Alexis Girardet who is also Series Producer, and Executive Produced by Adam Bullmore and Mike Warner.  


Hannah Allan: hannah.allan@vimn.com TEL: 07890 065 221

Susan Wilks: Susan.Wilks@vimncontractor.com

Notes For Editors:

About Channel 5: 

Channel 5 is a public service broadcaster and the UK’s third largest commercial TV station. Launched in March 1997, Channel 5 has been owned by Paramount since September 2014. Channel 5, 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select and My5 TV reach 3 in 4 of the UK viewing public each month with a diverse schedule including issue-led documentaries, popular factual, accessible history, stunning natural history, inclusive entertainment and reality, top level sport, high quality scripted programming and critically acclaimed children’s, news and current affairs programming.   Through its agenda-driving commissions, Channel 5 has led on societal issues from inequality to inner city gang life, homelessness to mental health, aiming to tell the story of modern Britain by reflecting the lives of people across the nation.  My5 is an on-demand service allowing viewers to watch content online for free from Channel 5, 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select and 5Spike, as well as selected third-party channels.    In 2018, Channel 5 won its first BAFTA for Cruising with Jane McDonald and was named ‘Channel of the Year’ at the Edinburgh TV Festival. In 2019, Chanel 5 won best documentary award for The Abused at the RTS Awards, Edinburgh TV Awards and the Association of International Broadcasters Awards. In 2020, Channel 5 was crowned Channel of the Year at the Broadcast Digital Awards and Channel of the Year at the RTS awards.

About Paramount Global:

Paramount Global (NASDAQ: PARA, PARAA) is a leading global media and entertainment company that creates premium content and experiences for audiences worldwide. Driven by iconic studios, networks and streaming services, its portfolio of consumer brands includes CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+, Pluto TV and Simon & Schuster, among others. The company delivers the largest share of the U.S. television audience and boasts one of the industry’s most important and extensive libraries of TV and film titles. In addition to offering innovative streaming services and digital video products, Paramount Global provides powerful capabilities in production, distribution and advertising solutions.

About October Films:   

Founded in London in 1989, October is one of the most dynamic, imaginative, and respected brands in the documentary sector. Truly independent and employee-owned, with offices in London, Los Angeles and New York, and a burgeoning regional studio facility in the UK, October harnesses an unrivalled community of producers and partners. Their excellence have been recognised with over 100 prestige awards, including EMMY, Prix Italia and BAFTA.

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