Back in 2022 our co-founder Justin Lewis joined a BBC filming expedition in Antarctica for the new series Frozen Planet II. Filming on the ice and underwater in Antarctica wasn’t actually the toughest part of the project, the challenge as it turned out was a test of patience — a 42 day Covid quarantine in a South African hotel, threatening the expedition. The team was finally given the green light to leave their hotel rooms and continue their journey to Antarctica just after Christmas. As luck would have it the weather was on their side and after traveling miles over the ice they found the Emperor & Adelie penguins. After only 2 weeks they were able to capture what they set out to film across the globe.
Justin adds, “Other than spending quality time with the penguins on the ice and in the water, the magic sauce and secret to our success in the end was our amazing and relentless team, including Alex Vail, Yoland Bosiger, Caspar McKeever, and the numerous supporting team members back in BBC Bristol.
The sun doesn’t set in Antarctica during the summer and with only two weeks to shoot we ended up being out on the ice sometimes over 20 hours a day. Although tired to the bone we managed to keep it fun, laugh constantly, stay focused and not float away on an ice chunk never to be seen again.
Antarctica is one of those places with a feeling that I have trouble pinning down with words. Other worldly, yes. Icy wonderland yes for sure. But so much more. It’s a place full of magical seemingly indestructible icy creatures, where time doesn’t work the same, almost everything can kill you and the silent beauty of the place humbles you right to the core. I feel deeply thankful I was able to have this experience and with such a rad and talented team of humans.”
Curious emperor penguin chicks waddle over to Yoland Bosiger and Justin Lewis while they are filming with a cable cam for BBC’s Frozen Planet II. Photo Credit: Caspar Mckeever
Check out BBC's Frozen Planet II, Episode 1: Frozen Worlds to catch the team’s footage of these adorable and fascinating penguins as they take their first swim in the icy waters.
Many thanks to our amazing editor Tessa Giffen for this BTS video!