19 January 2015

Antarctic British Base 'A' star of PBS Natural World Series Documentary

The Penguin Post Office – Bransfield House (Base ‘A’) is a little bit of Britain in the heart of Antarctica. Inside the British Base ‘A’, run by the United Kingdom Antarctic Heritage Trust (UKAHT), the Post Office has everything you’d expect: a postbox, stamps, postcards and four dedicated UKAHT staff. Outside, things are a little bit different, living alongside the Post Office are 2,000 gentoo penguins. They’re here for one reason, to raise a family, but their lives are far from picture postcard - adultery and robbery are rife, as the program makes clear.

A new film made by AGB Films for THIRTEEN’s ‘Nature’ to be broadcast on January, 28 2015 chronicles life at Antarctica’s Penguin Post Office and follows the lives of the UKAHT staff and a colony of gentoo penguins as they survive around Bransfield House, a British Antarctic Territory Post Office in the heart of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Every summer the gentoo penguins return to the location of the world’s most southerly public Post Office, and it is here viewers find out that as the penguins nest, they share their home with four newly arrived UKAHT staff, who run the Post Office for visiting tourists, proudly flying the Union flag and cleaning up the penguin mess around the base. We soon learn, however, that there is more to these adorable little penguins than comical waddling. We also take a look around the Post Office and learn about its history in the 1940’s and 50’s. We meet Base Leader Helen Annan, and Post Mistresses Kristy Leissle and Jane Cooper, who live alongside the penguins for the austral summer. They, and some of the visitors to the Island, share their thoughts on their experience of Antarctica, these special animals and what they are writing on their postcards home.

“We were drawn to Penguin Post Office because of its unique story,” said Nature Executive Producer Fred Kaufman, “and were intrigued by the incongruous juxtaposition of a penguin rookery and a working post office in the middle of the Antarctic.”

Nature is a production of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET. Penguin Post Office is a production of AGB Films for THIRTEEN Productions LLC and BBC for WNET. The program airs Wednesday, January 28, 2015 at 8 p.m. (ET) on PBS (check local listings). After broadcast, the episode will be available in U.S. & territories for online streaming at pbs.org/nature.

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