John Rae – Arctic Explorer Survival – on BBC

Thanks to BBC iplayer it is possible to watch Passage – a two part documentary about the amazing Arctic Explorer, Dr John Rae, from Clestrain, Orkney, in Scotland. A story of survival.

I have just watched part one with part two being shown on BBC 2 this Sunday 10th August, 2008. Both should be available on iplayer.

The 60 minute, ‘documentary style’, (part one) follows the team of film makers preparing to make a film about John Rae, based upon the book Fatal Passage, by Ken McGoogan (about the failed Franklyn Expedition to find the North West Passage). The film is being made by John Walker Productions.

John Rae should be well known for his own achievements – not just for being the barer of ‘bad news’ regarding the Franklyn expedition, whilst mapping for the Hudson Bay Company.

To read more about this unsung hero of 19th century British exploration, from Orkney, Scotland, go to:

For a good book about John Rae, read No ordinary journey : John Rae, Arctic explorer, 1813-1893

or see Amazon for Fatal Passage

Amazon – No Ordinary Journey

(I live next door to the Hall of Clestrain, Orkney, where John Rae grew up. His statue is in St Magnus Cathedral, in Kirkwall and a grave in the same graveyard is all that remains of this amazing guy, who unlike other officer gentlemen of the British navy (Scott, Franklyn), managed to live to old age, largely by learning from and respecting the indiginous people and their experience in cold climates. rather like Amundson, who was another impressive explorer!

For an interesting story of the rubber boat used (and on display in Stromness Museum, Orkney) see the “cloak boat”

The Halkett boat - cloak, used by John Rae

The Halkett boat - cloak, used by John Rae

Image sourced from the National Maritime Museum


2 responses to “John Rae – Arctic Explorer Survival – on BBC

  1. roderick mackenzie

    I have searched the bbc website for even a mention of “passage” but like Dr. John Rae , the programme seems to me to have been disappeared… still, next best thing on bbc i player – who do you think you are – patsy kensit – only kidding, how can I see “passage ” ?

  2. jacksonianlawyer

    Thanks for mentioning this and sharing it.

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