Sport on TV: Unbearable tension at the pole as cracks fail to appear

Mark Beaumont is a man of our time. We are all having to put up with hardship and the adventurer's feats of endurance – cycling around the world and from one end of the Americas to the other – should inspire us to learn to survive with no heating and a limited supply of food. But the Scot is also an eco-warrior, as he showed in Rowing the Arctic (BBC1, Wednesday) when he tried to become the first man to reach the North Magnetic Pole by sea as the ice cap receded with global warming. For all this, it's still hard to warm to him.

The problem is he's an eco-warrior in reverse, and the ice was probably retreating to get away from him. He must be the first person to celebrate the climate change in public as it allowed him to complete his quest. He was filled with joy at the sight of open water, and cursed whenever his crew found themselves up sheet ice creek without a paddle.

They were ready to shoot polar bears too. "We've got two shotguns and we know how to use them," he said as they pitched camp on an island. The advice is always to stay away from the shoreline since that is the bears' natural habitat. But it was a bit cramped in the boat so the rulebook was thrown overboard.

After an hour they were shooting randomly out of the tent flap as a bear sniffed around 20 feet away. Presumably they felt like an endangered species themselves. Or maybe they wanted some fresh food and a nice fur coat for the wife.

They reached their destination, whereupon they jumped on a plane back home, apparently leaving the boat there. That's a serious piece of littering in a pristine landscape 400 miles from the nearest settlement.

Everything was unbelievable, incredible, unforgettable. In fact it was all rather boring, but Beaumont tried to ramp up the drama. When they had to drag the boat across the ice at the end, he warned: "If we get caught underneath it, it could break every bone in our body." It could, but you would have to be really unlucky.

This programme has finally made it nationwide after first being shown on Scottish TV. Unlike the ecosphere, we could have lived without it. As the Scottish winters get warmer, maybe Beaumont will stay at home instead.

* Peter Drury certainly knows how to wield the TV stick of hyperbole. In the Champions' League semi-final second leg between Real Madrid and Bayern Munich (ITV1, Wednesday) he referred incessantly to Chelsea's match the previous evening but when the Germans converted a penalty to level the aggregate score at 3-3 he screeched: "Touché, Barça v Chelsea! This is matching that!" Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that Chelsea were on Sky Sports.

As the players trooped off at half-time, Drury went potty: "Absolutely truly scintillating, absolutely perfectly poised." You somehow knew there would be no more goals, but the commentator's curse even extended to the penalty shoot-out, when neither side seemed able to score – not even Cristiano Ronaldo.

The day before, another Ronaldo, now distinctly chubby, helped with The 2012 Olympic Games Football Draw (BBC1, Tuesday). Everytime he reached into the glass bowl for a ball, he looked like he was rooting around in the cookie jar. Luckily he didn't eat the balls. Nor did he tuck into any Olympic rings. Hmmm, doughnuts.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Wright has won The Apprentice 2014
tvThe Apprentice 2014 final
News
File: James Woods attends the 52nd New York Film Festival at Walter Reade Theater on September 27, 2014
peopleActor was tweeting in wake of NYPD police shooting
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor winner Ben Haenow has scored his first Christmas number one
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
News
Detective Tam Bui works for the Toronto Police force
news
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
Arts and Entertainment
Darrell Banks’s ‘Open The Door To Your Heart’
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

Ashdown Group: Analyst Programmer (Filemaker Pro/ SQL) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days, pension, private medical : Ashdown Group: A highly...

Ashdown Group: IT Support Analyst - Chessington

£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Service Desk Analyst - Chessington, Surrey...

Charter Selection: Graphic Designer, Guildford

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Charter Selection: This renowned and well establish...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick