A Voyage to Antarctica Podcast

Our acclaimed podcast has returned for a fourth season. Presented by The Economist’s Alok Jha and produced by Jessica Norman, season four of A Voyage to Antarctica explores everything from dinosaurs in Antarctica to an epic untold story of survival in the endless polar night and gardening tips from a NASA astro-botanist. 

The series was made possible with support from Hurtigruten Expeditions.

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SEASON 4: OUT NOW

Find out more about each brand new episode as it's released.

Season 4 | Episode 1: Polar Preet Preet Chandi

Alok Jha talks to Guinness World Record-breaking Polar explorer Preet Chandi – AKA Polar Preet – about her extraordinary achievements in Antarctica, completing the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski journey for a woman and the longest solo unsupported one-way polar ski journey overall.

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Season 4 | Episode 2: Dinosaurs in Antarctica Dr Susie Maidment

Millions of years ago Antarctica was a rainforest, home to some of the biggest creatures to ever walk the earth – dinosaurs. Alok Jha talks to Dr Susie Maidment, Principal Researcher in fossil reptiles at London’s Natural History Museum, about the dinosaurs who lived and thrived in Antarctica.

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Season 4 | Episode 3: Into the Dark Antarctic Night Julian Sancton

Alok Jha talks to journalist and author Julian Sancton about the harrowing and epic survival story of The Belgica: an early polar expedition gone terribly wrong with a ship frozen in ice and its crew trapped inside for months of endless polar night.

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Season 4 | Episode 4: Emperor Penguins Dr Peter Fretwell

Alok Jha talks to Dr Peter Fretwell, award-winning cartographer and leading scientist at the British Antarctic Survey, about Antarctica’s most iconic residents – Emperor penguins – and the threats they’re facing from climate change.

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Season 4 | Episode 5: The Space Gardener Jess Bunchek

Alok Jha talks to NASA astrobotanist Jess Bunchek about growing vegetables in Antarctica – and outer space.

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Season 4 | Episode 6: Snow Widows Katherine MacInnes

In the final episode of the series, Alok Jha revisits one of Antarctica’s most enduring tales of exploration with author and journalist Katherine MacInnes. Her book, Snow Widows, tells the story of the race for the South Pole, from the perspective of the women whose lives would be forever changed by it: the wives and mothers that Scott and his expedition team left behind.

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SEASON 3: catch up

Catch up with season three of our podcast from 2023.

Season 3 | Episode 1: Searching for Endurance Dan Snow

Alok Jha talks to award-winning history broadcaster and best-selling author Dan Snow about being part of the Endurance22 mission and what it was like to witness the extraordinary moment Ernest Shackleton’s lost ship was found at the bottom of the Weddell Sea.

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Season 3 | Episode 2: Bird Girl Mya-Rose Craig

Alok Jha talks to Mya-Rose Craig, aka Bird Girl, 20-year-old British-Bangladeshi birder, race activist and environmentalist, about travelling to Antarctica and the impact the icy continent has had on her climate activism.

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Season 3 | Episode 3: Creatures of the Frozen Seas Dr Huw Griffiths

Alok Jha talks to Marine Biologist Dr Huw Griffiths about the weird and wonderful life that is being discovered underwater in Antarctica; teaching us incredible things about our planet’s deep past, and even revealing some secrets of the universe.

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Season 3 | Episode 4: The Ice Maiden Sophie Montagne

Alok Jha talks to explorer and UKAHT Head of Operations Sophie Montagne, a member of the British Army’s Ice Maiden Expedition, which in 2018, became the first all-female team to cross Antarctica using muscle power alone.

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Season 3 | Episode 5: All Models Are Wrong Dr Tamsin Edwards

Alok Jha talks to climate scientist Dr Tamsin Edwards about how her pioneering work in modelling the impact of ice sheet & glacier melt on rising sea levels is predicting the future of the planet.

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Season 3 | Episode 6: Extreme by Design Hugh Broughton

Alok Jha talks to award-winning polar architect Hugh Broughton, to find out what it takes to design buildings where people can live – and even thrive – in the world’s most extreme conditions.

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Alok Jha Podcast host

"Antarctica has a lot to teach us. I've been lucky enough to visit this magnificent continent and for these new podcasts, it’s been fascinating to learn more about its history, climate, ecology, social life, politics and much more from some leading experts. I’m looking forward to listeners joining us on this journey."

Alok Jha Podcast host

"Antarctica has a lot to teach us. I've been lucky enough to visit this magnificent continent and for these new podcasts, it’s been fascinating to learn more about its history, climate, ecology, social life, politics and much more from some leading experts. I’m looking forward to listeners joining us on this journey."

Catch up: Season Two

Episode 1 EPIC ENDURANCE: Felicity Aston

We’ve all learnt a thing or two about endurance during the pandemic, but few people understand it better than this week’s guest, Felicity Aston, an Antarctic scientist turned polar explorer.

Episode 2 TO ANTARCTICA AND BEYOND! SUZIE IMBER

As a continent of research and science, Antarctica gives us an insight into the history and future of our planet. But research happening there is also revealing the secrets of our universe. In this episode, we travel to Antarctica and far beyond with space plasma physicist Dr Suzie Imber.

Episode 3.1 THE WHITE CONTINENT? PART 1: DWAYNE FIELDS

In the first part of this special double episode, Alok Jha talks to polar explorer Dwayne Fields, the first black Briton to walk 400 miles to the magnetic North Pole in 2010. In his youth, he was a victim of knife and gun crime and as a result of his experiences, decided to change his life and become an explorer.

Episode 3.2 THE WHITE CONTINENT? PART 2: DR BEN MADDISON

In the second part of The White Continent?, Alok Jha delves further into Antarctica’s colonial history with historian Dr Ben Maddison, to discover some untold stories of the continent. Ben’s book Class and Colonialism in Antarctic Exploration looks at the the discovery of Antarctica ‘from below’, focusing on the sailors, sealers, whalers, cooks and engineers who were all essential in bringing the upper-class ‘hero explorers’ to the continent and supporting their expeditions.

Episode 4 ANCIENT ICE: DR KELLY HOGAN

Alok Jha talks to Dr Kelly Hogan, a Marine Geophysicist at the British Antarctic Survey to find out what studying the remains of ancient ice sheets in Antarctica can tell us about climate change and the future of the planet.

Episode 5 SONGS FROM THE DEEP: PHILIP HOARE

Alok Jha speaks to the award-winning writer Philip Hoare about his life-long love for - and obsession with - whales and their history in Antarctica.

Episode 6 FROM SEALS TO STORMZY: PREM GILL

In the final episode of Season 2, Alok Jha talks to polar conservationist and explorer Prem Gill to find out what Antarctic seals and Grime music have in common. Prem is a PhD candidate leading the "Seals from Space" project with the Scott Polar Research Institute, British Antarctic Survey & World Wildlife Fund, and a researcher working on Frozen Planet.

Catch up: Season One

Episode 1 To The Ice: Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Alok Jha talks to Sir Ranulph Fiennes about the explorers of the past, his experiences of Antarctica and what it actually takes to go there. Sir Ranulph Fiennes is an explorer, author, fundraiser and public speaker. He was described by The Guinness Book of Records as “the world’s greatest living explorer” in 1984, and, since then, he has broken many more world records and led many more expeditions to remote regions. He became, with Charles Burton, the first man ever to have travelled around the Earth's circumpolar surface. His record-breaking expeditions include travel by riverboat, hovercraft, manhaul sledge, skidoo, Land Rover and ski, and have raised many millions of pounds for charity.

Episode 2 Clues to the Climate Crisis: Professor Dame Jane Francis

Antarctica is at the front line of the global climate crisis; in this episode Alok Jha talks to Professor Dame Jane Francis about the history of the continent, and the extraordinary climate research happening there. Professor Dame Jane Francis is a geologist by training, and a palaeobotanist at the British Antarctic Survey. Her research interests include ancient climates and fossil plants from the Arctic and Antarctic, which she uses to decipher ancient polar climates. She was awarded the Polar Medal for her contribution to British polar research and was appointed as Dame Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George for services to UK polar science and diplomacy.

Episode 3 How Penguins Can Predict the Future: Ruth Peacey

Alok Jha talks to conservation filmmaker Ruth Peacey about the history of penguins in the Antarctic, and what studying penguins can tell us about the future of the planet. Ruth Peacey worked with the BBC for over ten years on series including Natural World, Springwatch, Life in the Air and Planet Earth 2. In her spare time, she started documenting the issues surrounding bird persecution in the Mediterranean, which led to a series of projects called ‘Massacre on Migration’. She now specialises in investigating conservation issues all over the world, using videos and social media to shine light on areas of concern. In 2017, Ruth won Birdwatch Magazine’s ‘Conservation Hero’ award for her work.

Episode 4 No Shops and No Hairdressers: Sara Wheeler and Camilla Nichol

We hear plenty about the glories of men like Scott and Shackleton who lived in and explored Antarctica, but what about the women? This week, Alok Jha talks with travel writer Sara Wheeler and UKAHT CEO Camilla Nichol to find out the untold stories of the first women to engage with Antarctica — from the first explorers to the undocumented wives of whalers, and the struggles of women scientists, who were not allowed to conduct research there until the 1970s. Sarah was the U S National Science Foundation's first female writer in residence at the South Pole. She wrote international bestseller Terra Incognita, and Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard. Camilla is chief executive of the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. She is a geologist and has worked in the museums and heritage sector for more than 20 years. She's held positions at the Leeds museums and galleries and New York museums trust. When she was working for the Hunterian Museum at Glasgow University, she helped uncover a collection of Antarctic rocks collected by James Wordie on Elephant Island. Camilla is a fellow of the Royal geographical society

Episode 5 Antarctica In Mind: Peter Liversidge, Lucy Orta and Marc Rees

In this penultimate episode, Alok Jha talks with contemporary artists Peter Liversidge, Lucy Orta and Marc Rees to find out how Antarctica has inspired them in their work, and why the icy continent has been a particularly inspiring place for so many artists, even before the first sighting 200 years ago.

Episode 6 The Future of Antarctica: Professor Klaus Dodds

In the final episode of the series, Alok Jha talks to Professor Klaus Dodds about Antarctica’s unique geopolitical position, The Antarctic Treaty, Antarctica’s potentially precarious future and what we can all do to protect it. Klaus Dodds is Professor of Geopolitics at Royal Holloway, University of London and a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences. His many books and articles have been concerned with the geopolitics and governance of the Polar Regions as well as the cultural politics of ice. These include: The Scramble for the Poles, Ice: Nature and Culture and The Arctic: What Everyone Needs to Know. He has visited Antarctica four times and also travelled extensively in the Arctic.

Interested in collaborating?

We are interested in working with individuals organisations working across arts, culture, heritage, conservation, science, the environment, science and education. If you have a project or an idea that you would like to discuss, please get in touch.

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