Ashes to Antarctic
Prolific playwrite Jim Eldridge was inspired by a visit to the Antarctic Peninsula and the crosses at Petermann Island to write a fictional play about the widow of a FID (staff of the British Antarctic Survey) who planned to return his ashes to the place he loved. They had planned a visit to Antarctica but he died before they could make the trip together. With her sister in tow, the widow, Jill, played by Carolyn Pickles, takes her husband's ashes with her. She finds attitudes have changed and learns of some of the implications of the Antarctic Treaty.
It captures some of the history of exploitation, the lifestyle on base in the 70s, tour boats and much more. The playwrite Jim Eldridge told the British Antarctic Monument Trust, "the problem that I had, as I'm sure you can imagine, was making sure the story didn't disappear under the weight of information, and that the play turned into a travelogue ... something that Radio 4 did not want to happen. So the producer, Peter Leslie Wild, and I did our best to balance the information about Antarctica past and present, with the characters in the story."
If you would like to hear it you can listen to it for the next seven days on the BBC website at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00r0qhc
Jim commented, "I think it will be a wonderful thing to commemorate the memories of those brave people who died there. As I hope came across in the play, the memorial cross on Petermann Island struck a very poignant chord with me."