2008 - Assignments
News from the EMMYs 2008 in New York. 'Beckoning Silence' wins the Best International Documentary award. The follow-up to the BAFTA winning 'Touching The Void' follows Joe Simpson's inspiration into mountaineering and parallels his own story with the 1936 attempt on the Eiger North Face that ended in tradegy. (see 2007 page)
November also saw Keith co-leading week long courses in adventure film-making at the Banff Centre For Mountain Culture in Canada as part of the Banff Mountain Film Festival and at the Adventure Film Academy (Skillset).
Human Planet - A Major Series For BBC 1
Still in production. Watch this space.......
Earth - The Climate Wars
Climate Change has been with us with a long time now and most of us are aware of it and what it means but this three part series for BBC2 examines how we know what we know. On this shoot Dr Iain Stewart takes us though the intricacies of sea-ice and glacial melt, sea-level rise and the accelarating changes taking places in one of the world's most spectacular ice-watching spots. Located in West Greenland we head across the frozen ocean with local hunter Karl and jump leads of open water, cracks in the ice, by taking them at full speed with the skidoo and sledge. The sea-ice season is shortening year on year. The transition time when it is too dangerous to travel on the ice and too difficult sail through the bergs and remnants of sea-ice is lengthening. It's a difficult time for folk who rely on the rich hunting and fishing grounds. On the edge of the Greenland Icecap the 'Dead Glacier' has now woken from its frigid sleep and is moving fast. Once used by dog sled teams to access the icecap the glacier's surface is now so riven with crevasses and tottering ice-blocks that even getting a chopper onto it is just about impossible - pictured above right and on the left - Keith climbs across narrow bridge to establish a camera position. Below - Iain Stewart and professor Koni Steffen discuss the rapid changes in Greenland from inside a crevasse. DVCAM for BBC2 by BBC Science.
Lost Land Of The Volcano - Papua New Guinea, New Britain and the Big River Cave Of Mageni - HD for BBC1
This project for the BBC Natural History Unit put a small team into the 'white water cave' of Mageni located in the remote rain-forests of New Britain. With a base-camp established on the only bit of flat ground for miles, which by luck was right above the main waterfall spewing out of the cave mouth, we set about exploring what is regarded as one of the world's finest caves. With only one expedition ever having been inside before back in 2006 much is still to be discovered. Our way in was to abseil 200 feet to the entrance and then wade, scramble and climb our way deep into the heart of the mountain. Much of the time we might as well have been travelling through the world's greatest jet-wash. The enormous quantities of water and spray gave the cameras, sound equipment and us a pretty hard time. Lighting was also a challenge but with the aid of purpose built high intensity LED panels we managed to film our way into some extremely exciting new passages that seethed with wall-to-wall white water. Caving team members included Dave 'Moose' Nixon, Dave Gill, Jean-Paul Sounier, William Michel and Pam Fogg. The filming team comprised the unstoppable Steve Backshall, Jonny Keeling, Jonny Young and myself with Tim Fogg overseeing safety. On a day off from the darkness we continued down the side of the main falls to the plunge pool almost 500 vertical feet below base-camp. Funny how it looked so inviting from above. I can only liken the actual experience to standing at the end of a harbour pier during a hurricane being lashed by the spray from huge waves.
Inside the cave our mute companions were the bats, leeches, cave crickets and crabs Most of the time the thunderous roar of the water rendered everything inaudible. What's the saying - In the blackness no-one can hear you scream.........................but wow what an utterly mind-blowing, incredible, exciting place to be.
Left - Steve Backshall battles against the flow (© Jonny Keeling)
Centre - Mageni from the air. Our way in was through the hole at the top of the main falls.(© Steve Backshall)
Right - After swinging out over the plunge pool it was best to climb the ropes as fast as possible to avoid a total drowning (© Jonny Keeling)
Expedition Papua New Guinea is for BBC1. Shot on HD and HDV.
See Jonny Keeling's blog posted as the expedition gets off to a ropey start
Blue Peter Summer Expedition - Alaska
For almost a month we travelled the vast wilderness of Alaska in search of adventure, culture, history and the quirky. From exploring the inner depths and active moulins on the glaciers to heading in search of iconic wildlife and examining some interesting vegetables, we tried to do it all. But in Alaska you can never do that. As an adventurer's playground the opportunities are limitless..................................
The moulin we explored was really exciting with vast amounts of water going into it and steep bullet-hard blue ice to climb on. These places are not for the faint-hearted and presenter Helen proved a cool customer as she kept her head over 100 feet down inside the glacier.
Other activities included a race between a road-bike, the Alaska Railroad and a white water raft. Joel on the bike did a few wrong turns, the train ground to a halt as it gently edged its way round the top of the canyon and Helen got more than a dunking in some icy water as she rode the raft. Andy was race official and commentator from the comfort of his helcopter. In the end Joel won with Helen and myself on the raft coming in a very close second. Sea kayaking was also on the menu along with vast quantites of fish caught by Joel on their wilderness camping expedition deep in bear country. Joel and Andy also took part in a live lumberjack show for a spot of log rolling, axe-trowing and pole climbing.
The Ospreys At Loch Garten And The Loneliest Albatross
Mike Dilger takes us on journeys to see the Ospreys at Boat Of Garten in the Cairngorms where we look at the development and success of the RSPB's work to protect these spectacular birds. Then we board an ex-russian ice-breaker to sail into the Atlantic. Sula Sgeir juts from the sea like the island at the edge of the world. It is home to vast numbers of sea-birds including one very lonely albatross. As the cliffs loomed out of the mist over fifty pairs of eyes scanned the colony alas with no luck in spotting our quest. DVCAM for BBC1
The Blue Peter team decided to 'Trek To The Top' as part of Sport Relief 2008 and ascend the highest mountains in N. Ireland, Wales. England and Scotland with a little help from the Royal Navy in between. So with a pre-dawn start for the climb up Slieve Donard a short flight over the Irish Channel and an ascent of Snowdon on day one, we got off to a blistering start. After returning to Pen Y Pas at the base we were transported by road to the Lake District. Once again a pre-dawn start saw us up and down Scafell Pike before most had risen from their slumber. The Navy picked us up from the Wasdale Head Inn in the Merlin helicopter and whisked us up to Scotland. A tight landing spot, totally still air and a very laden chopper meant we couldn't land safely in Glen Nevis and so we flew off to Oban. Damn !!!!
The following day - pre-dawn once again we were on our way again to the top of Ben Nevis. Throughout we'd been blessed with utterly brilliant weather. With crampons biting into prefect frozen snow we reached the summit and enjoyed pristine panmoramic views through 360 degrees. Fantastic .....
Watch this space...................................................