Explorer (2022) - full transcript

A portrait of the "world's greatest living explorer" Sir Ranulph Fiennes, a film that goes beyond the record breaking achievements to explore the man behind the myth.

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RAN: This is Transglobe.

Cove Radio. Cove Radio.
One, two, three, four, five.

Five, four, three, two, one.

(TALKING AND STATIC OVER RADIO)

GINNY:
One, two, three, four, five.

Five, four,
three, two, one.

One, two, three, four, five.
Five, four, three, two, one.

(RADIO STATIC CONTINUES)

GINNY: Uh, yes. Go ahead.

(RADIO STATIC CONTINUES)

(INDISTINCT CHATTER OVER RADIO)



ANNOUNCER:
Ladies and gentlemen,

the Guinness Book of Records
Hall of Fame.

The first man that we're
inducting into the Hall of Fame

dedicated his life to danger,
adventure and exploration.

Ladies and gentlemen,
Sir Ranulph Fiennes.

(APPLAUSE)

TERRY WOGAN:
He's been described

as being
something of an eccentric.

MAN: A remarkable man

you might call brave,
driven, extraordinary,

or just plain crazy.

MAN 2: He's gone further
than anyone's gone before,

pushing the boundaries of what
humans can do and understand.

MICHAEL ASPEL:
It's been a life of adventure.



Parachuting
onto a Norwegian glacier.

Fighting a guerrilla war
in Arabia and...

SUE LAWLEY: He's navigated
the White Nile in a hovercraft,

spent three years travelling
around the world

through both Poles,

discovered a lost city
in Arabia,

and recently nearly perished
in Antarctica.

JEREMY CLARKSON:
Thrown out of the SAS,

he's walked to the North Pole,
run seven marathons.

MAN 3: His level of fitness,

endurance
and competitive spirit

puts him way above
any sportsman.

He is the greatest explorer
this country's ever had.

JEREMY PAXMAN:
Frostbitten, half-starved

and more dead than alive,

the polar explorer
Sir Ranulph Fiennes

tucked into a hearty breakfast.

BRIAN HANRAHAN: One question
everybody wants to know:

"Why did you do it?"

(PHONE LINE RINGS)

The number you are calling does
not accept unidentified calls.

-The number you...
-(DIALLING)

(PHONE LINE RINGS)

PRINCE CHARLES:
Are you doing it now?

I spoke to him on the telephone
occasionally.

See how things were going.

But most of the time, I thought
I'd never see him again.

I kept saying,
"You can't do it now.

Don't you realise
how old you are?"

Anyway, it didn't stop him.

MAN:
Darling, are you OK for Matt

to use our conversation
in his film?

WOMAN: I'm cleaning my teeth.
Sorry.

-MAN: Just cleaning her teeth.
-(PHONE RINGS)

She said she'll be out
in a sec.

RAN: Hello? Hi.

WOMAN 2: There's nothing normal
about Ran.

In the context
of the contemporary world,

he is not a normal guy.

(PHONE RINGS)

WOMAN 3:
He is the last great explorer.

The man has become a myth.

WOMAN 4: You only ever see
explorer Ran,

you never see
the other side of it.

RAN: Hello?

-Hello?
-(RADIO CUTS OUT)

BEAR GRYLLS:
Tonight is going to be special.

Ran has always managed
to do things

with a certain je ne sais quoi,

a certain flair,

that sets him apart
from all of us mere mortals.

Most of us aspire
to run a marathon.

RAN:
They're like penicillin pills.

(CHUCKLES)

-What, aren't you feeling good?
-Not confident.

BEAR GRYLLS: And that
is typical of Ran for you.

Always further,
always up, always beyond.

Always that little bit better.

To me he has always been
the best.

He's always been the leader.

And he's always been my hero.

Ladies and gentlemen,
please do a warm welcome

for the legend that is

Sir Ranulph
Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes.

(APPLAUSE)

RAN: Thank you very much.

I'm gonna be speaking,
basically,

on the topic
of taking package holidays

to weird areas with no scenery,

with odd bunches of people.

I ought to stress
that I've been doing it

for 32 years as a profession

not because it's there, or
because it's sort of romantic,

but basically in order
to pay the gas bill.

(LAUGHTER)

Right, we're going for it, yeah.

Whoops.

Done it.

I drive a hell of a lot, yeah.

You have to lecture.

That is the only way
an explorer can get paid

for doing what he does,
or she does.

But there is always the worry

that one might no longer be able
to make an income.

Hello, police.

Get into gear, will you?

-(CAR HORN BLARES)
-Stop hooting.

(WIND HOWLS)

When he's got his work head on,

he's very single-minded,
he's driven.

Nobody can say,
"Ran, don't you think

it'll be better
to do it this way?"

One time I said, "Why don't you

just take a gun
and shoot yourself

in the middle of a field?

It would be much less expensive

and it would not involve
so many people."

(LAUGHS)

MAN: I met him
for the first time in the Arctic

when we were about to set off.

I'd kind of heard
that he was really difficult

in terms of knowing what
he wanted and sticking to it.

And he was the leader.

Just as army units have leaders.

Hello.

-Hi. Mike?
-Yeah.

MIKE: I certainly
didn't view it like that.

You know,
I just wouldn't even conceive

of an expedition
of two having a leader.

It just goes quite beyond me.

NARRATOR:
The extravagant ambition

of British explorer
Sir Ranulph Fiennes

is to overcome
the last great polar challenge,

a totally unsupported trek
to the North Pole.

But once loaded

with the 60 days' provisions
for the journey,

his sledge weighed
nearly 400 pounds.

And with the temperature
below minus 50 centigrade,

this was proving too much
even for him to haul.

MAN: Honestly, Ran, I can't see

what on earth
you can take out of this.

RAN: I can take
the spare radio battery.

If we do that,
what are we doing?

We're compromising
on safety.

-That's the way we don't travel.
-RAN: It's irresponsible?

t is irresponsible. And we
just don't work like that.

With one battery,
that's what you're doing.

-What about one saw set?
-One saw set?

Again, what happens
when the other one goes?

You're absolutely stuck.

-Yeah.
-It's all compromise.

RAN:
Well, something has got to go.

NARRATOR: Against the advice
of his team-mates,

he decides he will cut down his
supplies from 60 days to 45.

The thought of failure
is impossible.

He cannot fail.

In athletic terms,
he was really very special,

and could have been

an Olympic-standard
endurance athlete.

Ran's foot got frost bit
a couple of days ago now.

When he took
his sock off tonight,

part of the little toe
came away.

The toe could become infected

and the infection
could spread to the foot

which would be serious.

I just keep saying to myself

the old thing
from Pilgrim's Progress

which is, um,
always a little further,

even if it's only ten yards.

That's what you're thinking of,
that ten yards.

We wanted to be first
unsupported to the North Pole.

If you got there second,

you might as well
not have done it. Simple.

NARRATOR:
Sixteen days after setting out,

the Britons find
that they're finally cut off

from the Pole by open water.

But it's been confirmed

that they have reached closer
to the North Pole

than any other
unsupported expedition.

To have done the record of
the furthest north unsupported,

is nice to know for one's own
point of view inside oneself.

But the goal of the Pole,
totally unsupported,

must remain, for me, something
which is sadly unattainable.

Ran was so disappointed that
he hadn't got to the North Pole,

or that we hadn't,

he went into complete decline.

Probably the first time in Ran's
mind he thought he had failed.

To me, he's out there
for the wrong reason.

He's out there
for what he thinks

other people
are gonna think of him.

And it shouldn't be competitive.

How insecure do you need to be

to have to go around
the fucking world

to beat the rival,
to feel good about yourself?

That has to be driven
by some sort of metric

that was given to him

by his parents or his peers
or something.

(BIRDS CHIRP)

(COW MOOS)

MAN: Quite peaceful up here,
isn't it?

Peaceful?
Yeah, most of the time.

The only thing that breaks
the silence is moos or baas.

Are you shaking? Ah.

Got the tremors.

Ginny put our ancestor pictures
in this room

going back to the 15th century,
some of them.

(COW MOOS)

-Try and keep them straight.
-(PICTURE RATTLES)

Yeah, so that's, um,
pretty much that.

That's Dad. And obviously,
as I go past my dad,

I say, "Morning, Dad. Love you."

(COW MOOS)

Dad wrote this to my
middle sister Celia, um...

"From Lieutenant Colonel
R Fiennes, Royal Scots Greys,

Middle East Force,
14th of April, 1942."

And he's done a little cartoon
picture of his three daughters.

Big sister Susan.
Middle sister Celia.

Little sister he called Judy
but her name is Jill.

He doesn't know that a son
is on the way, of course.

Four months before I was born,

he trod on a mine
and was killed.

Mum brought me up on stories
about him.

My mum I really respected,
very much indeed.

She always saw
the best side of everything.

Her lovely husband died,
was killed, suddenly,

and she's got four children.
Yeah, four children.

And her very strong-minded
mother-in-law, South African,

says,
"Right, now they're all dead,

I want to go back and die

back with all our relations
in Cape Town."

We got put on a ship,
the four of us and Mum

under domineering Granny,

went out to South Africa.

That is Granny.

She looks at you, you know,
her eyes,

wherever you move around
the room.

(COW MOOS)

Mum was bossed
by her mother-in-law.

We were out there for ten years.

When Granny died, Mum
took all of us back to the UK.

I was brought up with
an all-woman household. No men.

I had three older sisters.
No uncle, only aunts.

No grandfathers,
only grandmothers.

No father, only Mother.

I was spoilt rotten.

Well, we first met
when we were little kids.

We got up
to all sorts of things.

The ground, land,
was our playground, wasn't it?

We were a couple of monsters,
I suppose. (CHUCKLES)

(♪ "ROLLIN' AND TUMBLIN'"
BY ELMORE JAMES)

RAN: We were known by
the village as Tooth and Nail.

PETER: We had all sorts
of weapons that were handmade.

Spears made from wood

and the tip of the spear
was sharpened to a point.

And then we used to cut a tin up
so it was metal tipped.

We were always getting hurt.

Me more than him probably,
cos he was bigger than me.

Why we're still alive
I do not know.

We should have been maimed,
really.

We both had that exploration
thing in our blood, I suppose.

And he took it
all the way through.

RAN: Since I was tiny, I thought
I'd like to be like Dad.

Commanding Officer
of the Royal Scots Greys.

And I really tried hard.

I knew him really
from Officer Cadets at Mons.

He was about 19, I suppose.

He wasn't somebody who enjoyed
going to pubs and things.

He'd rather be
going to impossible places.

It was a very good fun life

because there were
no wars going on.

So, it was just the young people

doing as much as they could
to try and burn off energy.

Some of the things he did

were a bit unconventional,
you could say.

He would always come up
with crackpot ideas

of going on expeditions
and blowing up things.

Whatever he got up to,
it was great fun to follow.

His troops loved him,

but sadly, the Armoured Regiment
in Germany

was too boring for him.

So he went off and joined
the Special Air Service.

RAN: I had just passed

a demolitions course
with the SAS.

I had found that I was very good
at blowing up the target

with minimal stuff.

And I happened to have
a lot of explosives.

I got a phone call
from an old school friend.

Castle Combe,
the prettiest village in the UK,

was being ruined.

The company,
called Twentieth Century Fox,

were making a film
in their lovely village,

which involved turning the trout
stream into a lake for filming.

We started developing
this completely loco idea.

I mean,
it was the stupidest idea ever.

The artificial lake
was protected by sandbags.

The idea was
to remove a sandbag.

Next morning,
when they went to start filming,

the lake would have disappeared.
(LAUGHS)

To do this,
it needed to have a diversion.

Ran said, "OK, I'll get hold
of the thunder flashes."

MICHAEL: Ran then came up
with this brilliant idea.

He knew a guy, a photographer,

and would be
a frightfully good idea

if he got the guy to come along
and record this event.

Well, we know what happens next.
The guy does turn up.

And do you know what, invites
Plod to come along as well.

And guess what.
Guess what. They are arrested.

(LAUGHS)

WILLIAM: What we didn't know

was that he didn't
get just thunderflashes,

he went off and got some
actual explosives.

MICHAEL:
How it plays off is terrible.

Old Etonian toffs playing
"let's blow up a village".

The punishment
that was meted to him was mega.

You know, he was not going to be
a colonel of the Greys.

(DISTANT SIRENS)

RAN: I regret
not having been able to do

the thing that I
only wished to do for 24 years.

Be what my dad was.

And when I failed, I eventually
thought two fingers to life.

I was on probation
for six months.

Thrown out of the SAS back
to my own regiment

who were still in Germany.

(TANKS FIRING)

I got fed up
with endless moving around

in 60-tonne monsters,

but I had another three years
in the army.

And suddenly,
at this stage of German boredom,

I heard that volunteers
could take on

two-or three-year contracts
with the army in Oman.

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

RAN: I volunteered.

So did three or four
other officers.

They were described as being
too valuable to the regiment,

but my application was taken
up immediately with joy.

MAN: (IN ARABIC)

RAN: (IN ARABIC)

(MAN SPEAKS ARABIC)

RAN: (IN ARABIC)

AHMED: (IN ARABIC)

RAN: My particular job

was with 60 Arabs and Baluchis
and no Brit.

I would be called either Sahib

or, if there were
no other officers around,

they'd call me...
(SPEAKS ARABIC)

I think it means John.

Long time no driving
in this sort of condition.

I have to say
that I just love it.

The rougher the roads,
the better.

We were finding new roads
in countryside like this

and going up ramps,
steep, steep ramps.

And 30 of us,
with axes and shovels,

were making
impossible bits possible.

We were a happy family.

It just was wonderful
to be with these guys.

Trusted by them
and trusting them.

They were
wonderful human beings.

We really just... I think the
word is "clicked", just clicked.

I think looking back,
it's not popular...

I wanted to fight the enemy,
the Communists.

They were out to crush Islam
in Dhofar.

(SHOUTING IN ARABIC)

REPORTER: The Dhofar rebels
are mainly Marxists.

When the rebellion began,

their aim was simply
the overthrow

of a mediaeval tyranny
in Oman.

Since then,
the movement has the wider goal

of sweeping away all the
sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf.

(SHOUTING IN ARABIC)

RAN: Tribal leaders
had their backs burnt

and their eyes put out

and pushed over cliffs
to make an example of people

who refused to switch
from Islam to Marxism.

(GUNFIRE)

We were outnumbered.
We were in enemy area.

We were out-weaponed.
It was a frightening affair.

The main change I made
when I arrived out here

was to stop them moving by day.

We became experts
at night movement.

That is why we were chosen
for Operation Snatch.

We had heard an enemy leader
was going to come into Dhofar,

and we had very good information
where he was going to be.

Ranulph was briefed on what
to do and where to go and so on,

but during the approach,

we heard that actually,
he was being set up.

The leader wasn't going
to be coming in at all

and it was the other way round,
they were gonna ambush us.

I was asked to try and contact
him because I had radio to him,

and, uh, I couldn't get through.

RAN: I settled down
just beside the key track

that these people would
be coming in by in the morning.

We had an hour left before dawn

and I was looking through
the bush like that,

and they came along this way.

I saw their political red stars
and I said... (SPEAKS ARABIC)

Sorry, um,
"Hands up or you're dead."

And the bloke swung his
Kalashnikov round really fast,

and I found my finger
pressing the trigger.

I'd never killed anybody
that close.

I mean, I've shot at lots
of people in dust, rifle dust,

along 600 yards away
and all that, in ambushes,

but not as close as this.

You know,
and seeing your face shot away

and your nose pushed back
into your brain and so on.

And I was quite young,
really, you know.

And it affected me
for a very long time.

Not just in the week afterwards
but months later.

At that time,
when all this was going on,

I also had a good thing
going for me.

I knew that when I got back,

I was gonna marry the girl

who sort of steered me
to an alternate.

I had known Ran
since I was nine and he was 12.

We grew up together.

We're really like
brother and sister.

To me it's, you know,
probably the best way

because you're friends
as well as everything else.

(CHILDREN CHATTER)

RAN: She had two brothers.

They asked my mother if her son,
me, could go round for tea.

We were playing with their
electric trains in the attic.

And I felt a pin
in the back of my leg.

Looked under the table,
and there she was.

I'd never seen a girl
as a girl before,

and I felt just wonderful.

(♪ "BOOM BOOM" BY THE LORDS)

RAN: The first thing you saw
was very piercing blue eyes.

The bluest. (CHUCKLES)

I can remember telling him
to get on and meet her

instead of hiding in the bushes,

and let her ride by
on her horse, watching.

He worshipped
the ground she walked on.

JEAN: Yeah, he did.
And I think she did him, too.

GINNY: We'd be sort of in
the history class or something

and Ran would suddenly
appear at the window.

I don't know
how he got up there,

must have been the drainpipe.

He eventually got caught

and was pulled in through
the window and sent packing.

RAN: Outside her house
in Sussex,

we used to leave secret letters
in the tree.

When you want to see me,

leave a note hidden here.

It's a tree stump
with a gnarled hole in it,

and it's still there. (CHUCKLES)

MATT:
And you keep it just there?

Oh, no, I keep the bit of wood
just there, not the tree.

PETER: When he got together
with Ginny,

eventually,
that was a load of trouble.

Her dad went apeshit.

RAN: Her father
was not at all keen

on me having anything
to do with her.

Ginny's father thought
that the explosives

had come from his quarry

and that Ginny had pinched them
and given them to me.

And that the police would find
this out and send her to prison.

My father was convinced that Ran
would be the death of Ginny

because he was, you know, a mad,
bad and dangerous-to-know boy.

And little did he realise
that she was worse.

It was Ginny who was gonna
dream up the wild expeditions.

(♪ "CAN'T RUN BUT"
BY PAUL SIMON)

I don't think Ran
could have done anything

that he has done without Ginny.

She certainly played a huge part
in his career

and in his happiness too.

A lot of the time they were
utterly penniless.

He'd left the army with nothing.
He had no job.

And there was no money.

She was always
trying to think up things

that Ran could do
to make some money.

RAN: Ginny got onto
an actors' agency

who wanted me to audition
for James Bond.

Got into the last six.
Some other bloke got it.

Roger Moore.

She kept him on track,
got him organised

and opened the doors to get
a publisher for the first book.

JILL: Ginny interpreted
the world for him.

She enabled him,
and she'd move heaven and earth

to make sure whatever needed
to be done got done.

RAN: Ginny realised
that doing hot expeditions

wasn't ever going to get
sponsorship or media coverage.

The media only wanted
polar stuff.

She decided that if one's
gonna make any sort of income,

we'd have to make a big entry
into the polar fraternity

with the most impressive journey
she could think of.

-Ah, Sir Ranulph.
-Hello, Admiral.

You all right?

-Come in.
-Good to see you.

-You all right?
-In time for some fodder?

Food, yeah. Are you are you OK?

(GROANS)

-So...
-How's the family?

They're all right.
They're fine. Yeah.

Do you want anything with that?
Ketchup or...

-(SPEAKS GERMAN)
-Ja?

(SPEAKS GERMAN)

OK. (SPEAKS GERMAN)

-There you have it.
-(SPEAKS GERMAN)

-All right?
-Yeah, great.

This is just perfect.
Well worth a five-hour journey.

(LAUGHS)

You haven't lost your touch,
cookie.

-(ANTON LAUGHS)
-Very good.

ANTON: Yeah, now I've got
loads of stuff

to show you in my little room,

my archive room.

That is a piece of history,
that little globe,

because that red line,
your Ginny...

Yeah.

She drew what she thought
was the best way

of doing the first journey
around Earth, vertically,

with her crayon.

I used to take her out
from her school.

That was her school globe
of the world. Yeah.

NARRATOR:
No one had yet journeyed

the Earth's surface
along its polar axis.

Encouraged by his wife Ginny,
Ran Fiennes would try it.

PRINCE CHARLES: It took
seven years to prepare for

and will take another
three years to complete.

When they return,

the team will have
walked, sailed,

driven and skied
more than 52,000 miles.

It is
an extraordinary adventure,

and in my opinion,
gloriously and refreshingly mad.

CHRISTOPHER WENNER:
This is a polar expedition

with a difference.

It's called
the Transglobe Expedition

because it means to go

both to North and the South
Poles in one journey.

An expedition that sounds as if

it's just come straight
out of the pages

of Boy's Own magazine.

And for a team that's led

by Sir Ranulph
Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes,

surely nothing is impossible,
except perhaps his name.

From a contemporary
point of view,

you could say that this is
totally white privileged folly.

There is something about him
that I think makes a lot of us

want to just hug him

and then grab him
by the collar and shake him.

All in all,
an incredible journey

and one which is going
to be shared by Ran

and the others
on the expedition by a dog.

WENNER: He's Bothie.

And he's a Jack Russell,
and just 18 months old.

And he's going to be
the expedition's mascot.

Good boy, Bothie.

He didn't have big wealth
to fall on.

He had to raise every penny.

Transglobe's, like,
a $27-million operation.

The fuel alone is off the chart.

How can you do that?
You can't do that.

Well, he did it.

REPORTER: More than
650 companies around the world

made this possible,

supplying goods and services.

In some ways, Transglobe was
like putting men on the moon.

JEAN: Everything that they got
was sponsored or scavenged.

PETER:
He's the world's best scavenger.

JEAN: Yeah.

RAN: Ginny and I started off
with no money at all.

So, as a married couple,

our rule was "never pay anybody
for anything at any time".

We, or particularly Ginny,

became very good
at convincing people

to give large sums of money

in return for publicity
for their company name.

Quite simple, really.

The whole principle
of the expedition

was that nobody got paid.

That was the mantra.

It was the thing
that held it all together.

Different people all willing
to work for nothing

for something they believed in.

ANTON: This is the first letter
that I received from you,

do you remember, when I applied
to join the expedition?

-RAN: Amazing.
-(CHUCKLES)

"Dear Mr Bowring, thank you for
your letter and your interest.

We are looking for
a qualified, honest,

non-union,
unpaid underlined crew.

We are wanting to complete
scientific work from the trawler

during the expedition.

We are not wanting
photographers.

Excuse this writing, but I'm
on a v shaky train to York.

Yours sincerely, Ranulph
Fiennes, Expedition Leader."

(LAUGHS)

-Good heavens.
-Yeah.

-Ready?
-Yeah.

Ran is the hardiest, craziest,

most insane person

I have ever absolutely loved
working for.

My boss at the time said,

"Ran's well known.
He's a ruthless bastard."

He chews up soldiers
and spits them out.

But he's successful
because he's so driven.

He never takes no for an answer.

REPORTER:
Strong winds and currents,

combined with
heavy loads

had put too great a strain

on the inflatable boats
and their engines.

RAN: What do you think it is,
Jack?

Breakdowns
had become commonplace.

RAN: Obviously you've got
to have another sort of boat.

This is what Ginny's,
you know, all about.

We're now two or three days
behind the schedule

instead of ahead of it.

I asked her to get
a Boston whaler,

and that they might cost
something like $13,000,

to get big engines for them,

but she mustn't spend
any money on doing it,

and she must do it
within two weeks.

After that, it was up to her.

GINNY: Ran has decided to use
an 18-foot Boston whaler.

Problem is, we need
an 18-foot Boston whaler.

REPORTER: Within a week, Ginny
finds a boat and a sponsor.

RAN: ♪ Bowl of spaghetti

♪ All covered in cheese

♪ I lost my poor meatball

♪ When somebody sneezed

Anton.

Amazing seeing it back
on the water again.

Forty years
you've looked after it. (LAUGHS)

I can remember the trouble
on the telephone

trying to get them
free of charge.

Ginny did. She had a good voice.

Good at what they call
wheedling.

(LAUGHS)

(ENGINE STALLS)

Whoops. Come on.

(ENGINE STARTS)

That's more like it.

There's something about Ran
that makes people...

put their lives in his hands.

You have that, that feeling
that he will, you know,

that he'll never let you down.

He can talk to you in such a way

that, I won't call it hypnosis,

but you're mesmerised
by what he's saying

and all of a sudden,

you just want to do
these crazy things with him.

PRINCE CHARLES: Benjamin
Bowring, this is Cove Radio.

Do you read me? Over.

BOWRING:
This is Benjamin Bowring.

I have you loud and clear,
Your Royal Highness.

He wrote asking if I'd be at all
interested in helping, and...

I obviously met him after that

because I'm a sucker for those
sort of marvellous characters

who are full of, you know,
enthusiasm and ingenuity.

The great British eccentrics
really.

And indeed he is one
of life's great eccentrics.

-Hip hip.
-Hooray!

-Hip hip.
-Hooray!

ANTON: Are we gonna play Boggle?

JILL: Go on then.

-ANTON: OK.
-JILL: Right.

ANTON: And what are we doing,
60 seconds?

JILL: No, three minutes.
Soft-boiled egg.

ANTON: That's a long time.

JILL: No, by the time
you've written down 25 words...

-ANTON: Twenty-five?
-(LAUGHS)

ANTON:
Who can write down 25 words?

I was thinking
about two or three.

ANTON: Exactly.

Are we ready?

-Three, two, one, go.
-JILL: OK.

ANTON: Oh, Lord.

He cheats dreadfully
at card games.

Hates children winning, and is
really good fun. Very good fun.

-Ooh.
-(ALARM CHIMES)

-Gay.
-RAN: Yes.

Pan.

Two, one, go.

-Dent.
-JILL: Yes.

-Man, M-A-N.
-Yeah, yeah.

And then an umbrella,
which is a gamp.

-Beg your pardon?
-(LAUGHS)

-Mill. Did someone have mill?
-JILL: Yes, I had mill.

-Right.
-JILL: What's a gamp?

-ANTON: What is a gamp?
-Look it up on your thing.

We can't.

-We haven't got a signal.
-JILL: We haven't got a signal.

ANTON: Is it an Eton word?

-Is it slang?
-RAN: People at Eton use it,

but that doesn't mean
no one else does.

I mean, at my school
a bicycle was a bincy.

-RAN: A bintry?
-ANTON: A bincy.

We had very strange words
in my school.

If you were a sort of slave boy,
you were called scum.

Our lot went, "Boy!"

I mean, for a long, long time

and every little boy doing their
prep or whatever had to run.

And one got beaten
by the senior boys.

ANTON: You did. I did.

It's always been said
of that school,

it gives the students
tremendous confidence.

They come out believing they can
do whatever they want to.

-That wasn't the case for you?
-I was the opposite.

When I went there, I think I had
lots of cocky self-confidence.

I lost all that.

I was apparently
a pretty boy aged 11,

and they'd take the mickey.

So-and-so has a crush
on that pretty boy

and all the rest of it.

Having had only women
who never bullied me,

I didn't get good
at being nasty back.

MARK LAWSON: And the boxing

was a direct response
to the bullying.

Yeah. It was,
to being pretty, um...

Trying to be aggressive and
trying to be unpretty and big,

boxing seemed to be
the right answer.

And it worked pretty well,
I think.

I don't think Ran likes
to be put into a set-up

whereby, "Here's a guy
who went to Eton,

he was an officer in the cavalry
and he was in the military."

REPORTER: Headed by Sir Ranulph
Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes,

Eton, the Royal Scots Greys and
Special Air Service, retired.

OLIVER: I remember
in the very early days

when we started
doing interviews,

Ran said to all of us,

"For heaven's sake,
don't mention you went to Eton

or don't mention
you went to a public school."

-That one's good.
-Yeah, there's six black.

Six black, eleven blue
and four red.

Right, sleeping bags, two.

OLIVER:
Someone that's got a title

and a triple-barrelled name,

I mean, it's asking for trouble.
(LAUGHS)

-MAN: You're a knight and you...
-Yeah, but I got born that way.

You could have been born
that way.

No, we haven't got any money.

OLIVER: The press
really were pretty nasty to him

on numerous occasions.

He let it bounce off him

but underneath,
you could see the scars,

if I can put it that way.

RAN: If people immediately
think, "Oh, he's a Sir,"

that puts my hackles up.

I cross it out whenever
I possibly can.

I hate it, I really do.

If you take a really good friend
like Robin Knox-Johnston,

he uses the Sir and he
deserves it cos he earned it.

I didn't earn a Sir at all.

I got born with it
cos my dad had been killed,

and he got it
because his dad had been killed.

So, if you don't earn it,
why use it?

Ran Fiennes is fine by me.

Ran's journeys and exploits

are his way of trying
to step out and go beyond.

Come here, Ran.

Ran, in terms of film-making,

you're trying to look for some
kind of psychological meaning

behind what's going on,

you're trying to find
some kind of conflict.

And there wasn't any.

Because these people,

they won't stoop down to saying,
you know,

"That motherfucker isn't
holding up his part of the job.

And I hope somebody kicks him in
the balls till his nose bleeds."

You know, those are
the lines we're looking for,

you're not gonna get 'em.

-MIKE: Wait second. Hit it.
-Got it.

MIKE: And that was because
Ran never bad-mouthed anybody.

You couldn't make
him disagreeable.

He was always positive
solving problems.

And then I kept saying,
"It's my fault.

I'm doing something wrong.

I'm not getting into
these guys."

And these guys,
you don't get into 'em.

You know,
he's the classic old Brit guy.

This guy is so classy,

you don't know that there's
anything even under the skin.

You know, a piece of granite

cut out of the same stuff

from the skin all the way
to the heart.

(WIND HOWLS)

The great thing is that they've
achieved the Antarctic crossing.

And that's a marvellous feather
in their caps.

I thought it was enough,
that alone.

But to go on and do the Arctic
is real, uh, bravery, I think.

The Arctic is a real challenge

and they're not in any way

accepting
this next challenge lightly.

I think this probably will be
the most difficult.

RAN: I got brought up
with a religion,

but it's not strong enough

to deal with sort of gangrene
and crotch rot

and all of that sort of stuff.

So I have to invent my own way
of having a mental fight.

And that is to say, people
I respected most in my life,

my father and my grandfather,
are watching me,

and I must not give in,
I must not give in.

I invite the ghosts into my head
so that they are there

and I do not want
to let them down. Simple.

When they said you shouldn't
leave before February 28th

because it's too dark
to see properly

and too cold to feel your toes,
they were right.

They were all right.

What are we doing?
We're cultivating arthritis.

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

(PHONE RINGS)

MAN: Hello, Transglobe London.

You're calling
from Resolute Bay, yes.

You have, yes.
What is it, please?

"My team has arrived
at the North Pole."

Thanks very much.

RAN:

GINNY:

(BIG BEN CHIMES)

At last they've done it.
Thank goodness they have.

It's something
for the country to be proud of.

It's a wonderful achievement.

They got a lot of guts
to go there, innit?

-That's really kind of you.
-Open it now.

It's an egg. An Easter egg.

Fantastic.

WOMAN: I think
they're very brave people.

MAN: They're brave men,
there's no doubt about it.

I'd say they're brave,
but they're still idiots.

(CAR REVERSE BEEPING)

RAN: I had 9,000 miles
on the clock.

It's now got 280,000 miles
on the clock.

And it's still doing wonderful.

It has got hieroglyphics
down both sides

which make
it sort of picturesque.

(CAR BEEPS)

(CAR BEEPS)

So, we're on the lookout
for exit signs,

that is
the most important thing.

PETER: We call him Mondeo Man.

-JEAN: Yeah.
-He wears cars out.

(JEAN LAUGHS)

ANTON: I went driving with Ran
last year I think it was.

It was terrifying.

He had one hand over one eye
for some reason

and was driving like that.

(LAUGHS)

PETER: Just went down
Earls Court Road the wrong way

and I thought, "Bloody hell!"
you know.

It was bum-clenching time.

ANTON: He used to be sort of
honestly, you know,

military in his driving,

but now he's sort of
all over the place.

(CAR HORN BLARES)

RAN: Keeping awake is a problem,

driving for ten hours at a time,

sometimes longer,
doing what I do.

So what I do, basically,

is I administer a wake-up,
sort of like that,

and it works maybe
for half an hour

and then you have to stop.

But the hotels round here
cost £300 for bed and breakfast.

So at night time, one would go
into a place like that,

get your sleeping bag out,
set your alarm clock

and Bob's your uncle.

I use the suits as curtains.

(PHONE LINE RINGS)

-Hello, mate. How are you doing?
-MATT: Hey, Will.

WILL: I've worked with Ran now
probably about three years.

The first time I met Ran,
yeah, it was, uh, interesting.

Whoops.

I don't wanna
run over a bicycle.

WILL: I'd pulled up at the venue

and I went to try
and find where he was.

From across the car park,
I saw this half-naked old man

bobbing up and down
in between the cars.

(LAUGHS)

And it was right then when
I realised,

"Ah, this guy is crazy."

-Hi, Will.
-Afternoon, Sir.

-You know Matt?
-We've met on the phone.

Hi, Matt. How you doing?

-You wanna park up, don't you?
-Yeah.

Actually, the entrance
is just there.

WILL: There's been times, like,

we'd have quite a serious
conversation about money.

And then he says...

-So, Will...
-"Will, what does woke mean?"

(LAUGHS)

What is... what is going on?

What is Ranulph Fiennes
asking me what "woke" means?

(LAUGHS)

This looks like solid chocolate.

Mmm.

You notice that I'm avoiding
the entire cake.

MATT: Why is that?

Well, if I just have the icing
and not the rest of the cake,

my total chocolate input
is less.

That's it.

Put that in there.

MARYCLARE: I think Ran
is the hero in his own story.

If you find a photograph
of a frostbitten hand...

MARYCLARE:
He is also the ringmaster.

RAN: The most gory.

(GASPING)

(BEEPING)

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

NARRATOR: Ran and Charlie's
final challenge.

To get off the frozen ocean

across the increasingly
tenuous ice.

RAN:

RAN: As the summer progressed,
the ice got more dangerous.

I decided better
to find an ice floe

which was big enough
to be fairly safe

whilst there was still
a big one.

We wanted our ice floe
to head off on a certain degree.

Bloody ice floe
went where it wanted.

(DOGS BARK)

Ginny was in North Greenland
and I flew out to join her.

Go away.

Benjamin Bowring, Benjamin
Bowring, Transglobe Nord.

Benjamin Bowring, Benjamin
Bowring, Transglobe Nord.

ANTON: The general consensus
amongst the experts

was that it wouldn't be possible
to actually go with the ship

to where they were
and pick them up.

(INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER)

The experts in London
and our committee in London

felt that the aircraft should,

while it could still land
on this ice floe,

pick them up,
take them out of the Arctic,

and that would be the expedition
successfully concluded.

RAN: At the very last moment
of the three-year expedition,

and seven years' planning,

to have it ruined by being
flown out was pretty dreadful.

ANTON: The decision from
the committee to airlift you out

was thwarted because Ginny
in her incredible way said,

"I'm awfully sorry, Sir Evan,
I can't hear what you're saying.

It's a very, very bad line.

I'm losing you.
I'm sorry, I can't hear

but I think you said
'press on'."

-(LAUGHS)
-"And we shall, we shall.

We'll get there in the end."

-And she put the receiver down.
-Wonderful.

RAN: Ginny used the ski-planes
to ask us our opinions.

-Switch it on.
-CHARLES: It's always on.

-It is on.
-GINNY: I've lost my cigarette.

RAN: No, that's your cigarette.
I'm smoking it for you now.

Now I agree to take personal
responsibility for my own life

in not hopping onto the aircraft
while we have got the chance.

And that's my opinion only,

and so now for Charlie
to tell you his.

CHARLIE: If I wanted
to get onto the plane,

which I don't want to do,

because I think
it's so pointless.

GINNY:
Well, the point is, Charlie,

that the committee
have advised you.

So they're saying
that you're risking

leaving yourself floating out

in the Arctic Ocean
forever and ever, amen.

(RADIO STATIC)

(WIND HOWLS)

ANTON: About two months later,

the aircraft
wasn't gonna be able to land.

There's no way
they can be rescued.

The ship had been trying
on occasions

to get into the ice
and pick them up.

It was impossible.

We set out on another attempt.

We're still going north-west.
Still going north-west now.

ANTON: We pushed and shoved
and we got stuck.

We waited a day or two.

The ice closed in behind us.
We pushed on again.

We got to a position
where the aircraft flew overhead

and it can see Ran and Charlie
in their camp,

and it can see us
at the same time.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

RAN: They sent a message,

"We are X miles away from you.
Come at once."

We couldn't see the ship.

The two of us
were ridiculously weak by then.

We were beginning to despair.

Saw two matchsticks
in the white horizon.

The masts.

And, you know, it even now

makes me emotional
to think of it.

Failure was so close.

The moment
of getting on the ship...

yeah, and seeing Ginny
was amazing, yeah.

REPORTER:
On a sunny August Sunday,

thousands come to Greenwich

to greet the first men
to circumnavigate the Earth

via the South and North Poles.

REPORTER 2: It was an adventure

which took three years
to complete.

The planning
began ten years ago.

They've broken records,
defied those who said

they had neither the numbers
nor the equipment...

GINNY: I didn't want
anything out of it myself.

I haven't really any personal
ambitions, so to speak.

I'm really just, you know,
a housewife.

PRINCE CHARLES: Ginny was such
an incredible support to him.

She was absolutely crucial.

She did so much of the work
with the communications.

She was ceaseless,
absolutely ceaseless.

And if it hadn't been for her,

I don't think any of this
would have happened, really.

RAN: I always wanted what Ginny
wanted, which was children.

We had decided one boy
and one girl would be ideal.

We worked so hard
at having children.

For 17 years,
we went to IVF people.

And when that didn't work,
we decided that we would adopt.

GINNY:
Helping the chimney sweep.

RAN: We were told
we were doing expeditions.

We didn't have
a dependable income.

Ginny was very, very upset.

-ANTON: Um, Ran, coffee?
-RAN: Yeah.

ANTON: Right, two coffees.

Gosh, I haven't been here
for years.

When they first got the house,
we used to come and visit.

It was a very long time ago

cos my girls
are all in their thirties

and when we were here,
they were tiny little people.

(CHILDREN CHATTER)

-(CHILD LAUGHS)
-Mummy, look!

ANTON: We used to have the most
amazing Christmases here.

RAN: Oh, look, the moment
of maximum impact.

A blue flame.

A purple fire.

That's cute.

He called me Miniature.

Ginny was Big Ginny
and I was Miniature.

And, you know, they were always,
always part of our lives.

The pair of them
were like second parents to us.

We were told off by them.

She would bark at anyone,

she would call herself
the Witch of Exmoor.

The wickedest,
sort of, sense of humour.

(CHILDREN LAUGH)

Life was just never boring

when you were spending time
with the Fienneses.

They were definitely more family

than aunts and uncles
and cousins.

He really is just a really
big child. Absolutely great fun.

Stupid dog.

ANTON: The worst thing
throughout his life

was that
he didn't have children.

The best thing that ever
happened to Ran for his career

was that he didn't
have children.

-(PHONE RINGS)
-(DOG BARKS)

RAN: At some point,

after we got back from
Transglobe, the phone goes.

It was this guy Dr Hammer
who'd sponsored our expedition.

Dr Hammer was so impressed,
he took me on as his gofer.

(PHONE RINGS)

When he came into the office,
I said to him,

"Ran, you do look
a little bit nervous."

He said, "Yeah, well, it's my
first office job in 40 years."

I'll call you back.
Call you back next Monday, OK?

Ideally next Friday.

ALEX: He used to train avidly
during his lunch-break

by packing copies of Dr Hammer's
biography into a rucksack

and then running up and down
the stairs

of his office building.

RAN: I worked for him
for ten years.

When he took me on,
Dr Hammer said,

"Three months every year
I'll pay you

and you can go
and do an expedition."

What could be luckier?

When we went back towards
the North Pole,

it was in the '80s.

The thing that really hit
Ran and myself

was how the ice had changed.

There was a lot more
open water around.

The ice was not nearly as thick

and the temperatures were
a little bit kind of warmer.

They were minus 35
as opposed to minus 50.

And that makes a big difference.

(♪ "HURDY GURDY MAN"
BY DONOVAN)

You said last time you were here

that if this one didn't work,
never again.

That's correct, yeah.

-What happened?
-I changed my mind.

(WOMAN LAUGHS)

MAN: It must be
a tantalising feeling.

You got within a hair's breadth
of the Pole.

Tantalising. Very frustrating.

He really wanted
to get there first.

There'd be a phone call saying,
"What do you think?

What do we do different?

What, where, how do we go?
Let's go again."

RAN:

FLO:

RAN: Failing on the way
to the North Pole

is something you can keep doing

cos the other people
are failing too.

JEREMY PAXMAN:
Frostbitten, half-starved

and more dead than alive,

the polar explorer,
Sir Ranulph Fiennes,

and Dr Michael Stroud
tucked into

a hearty breakfast
of eggs this morning.

This time I have no reason

for feeling any more confident
than previous times

other than a sort of hunch.

Thermos and mug.

WOMAN:

WOMAN: OK. (LAUGHS)

ANTON: He hates it
when other people

do something
that he hasn't done.

He likes to be the one in front
in almost all circumstances.

(WIND HOWLS)

RAN: Mike and I knew we must
avoid always trying to do solos.

But because
we were always trying

to break the newest record,

and the Norwegians
had beaten us,

well, we didn't believe
they had,

unsupported with two people,

the record was nobody had done
it unsupported with one person.

I don't like solo expeditions.
I just don't.

I think there's too many
parameters that can go wrong

and it can be pretty sort of...

(SIGHS) ...terminal.

I did the communications
for him.

And he called me on the radio...

And I picked it up.
It was like, "Hi, Ran."

And I heard this voice
and I'd never heard him scared.

Normally it's, "Hello, Flo.
Yes, blah, blah, blah, blah."

And this was more like,
"Yeah, I got a problem here."

And he,
I could tell it in his voice,

he was still being his
methodical, professional self,

but I could tell
that he was seriously hurt.

RAN: Everything went wrong.

The sledge fell into the water

and everything vital
was on board, you know.

I managed to slide down,

grab the sledge, which was
now sinking in the water,

managed to pull it out.

My hands got wet.

Very quickly I lost
all feeling in both hands.

That was a desperate situation.
Very desperate.

It was about a week later
I managed to get to a hospital.

REPORTER:
He's triumphed over adversity

in some of the most
remote places in world

but today, simply opening
a letter is a struggle.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes
will lose the tips

of four of his fingers
on his left hand.

RAN: The surgeons will cut, um,
a bit below the mummified areas

in order to have skin
to put over the new stumps.

MAN: You're very stoic
about it all.

No, I mean,
it's, you know,

there's no point in crying
over spilt milk.

-MATT: Faithful old shed?
-Yeah.

Forty years. (CHUCKLES)

The amputation was fixed
but not for five months.

And every time I touched
something, it was agony.

Ginny said, "Well,
you're getting very irritable."

Which I was.

So, we got
a Black and Decker workbench.

Put your hand in it. Ginny would
tighten up so it couldn't move.

Start that way,
turn it through about that much.

Try a bit more,
then try a bit more

until you've gone
right the way round.

It did sort of rather hurt
because of getting too close in,

but after a bit,
you get good at doing it.

That one and that one,
made a bit of a botch-up job.

That one, because
of the big bone in the middle,

that took over a day.

Beautiful. No rain.

Hardly believe it's Wales.
(LAUGHS)

No matter what you might
have done in the past,

when age catches up with you,

your teeth, your eyes,
your ears,

then obviously, if you're human,
you're gonna object.

(INDISTINCT CHATTER)

RAN: The mind
wants to do things,

but then suddenly finds that
your body's falling to bits.

-Bear, good to see you again.
-Well done. You're such a star.

-You been OK?
-Yeah, I'm... If you feel that.

That's not muscle,
that's a heart... blood...

-Oh, my God!
-From Cromwell Hospital.

They wouldn't let me out.

So I said, "If you let me
wear the thing for 24 hours..."

There's a battery in there.

These are plugged
into heart plugs,

or whatever you call them.

And after this, we've gotta
return all their stuff

to Cromwell Hospital
on the way home.

You're unbelievable.

They won't insure you
for anything when...

So, are you meant
to be there now?

Yes. For 24 hours, yeah.

Those were the days.

MATT: Do you think there is
a heaven, a hell and all that?

RAN: Maybe, maybe not.

I used to be frightened
of death.

But ever since I had
a massive heart attack,

which I didn't feel,
no pain at all.

I just suddenly woke up
three and a half days later

and Ginny told me
in the hospital bed with wires,

"You had a heart attack
three days ago,

on an aeroplane,
which hadn't taken off,

and you were taken to the A&E."

And so I knew
that I had been dead

for three days and nights.

And how many angels
did I see? None.

It was just complete
wonderful nothingness.

Thirteen times
your heart stopped?

Thirteen times my heart stopped.

And they told her if they did
manage to resuscitate me,

I'd probably have
some sort of brain damage.

She later said that didn't
make much difference.

My problem was that I was due
to do a major project

with a friend of mine,
Dr Michael Stroud.

Seven marathons on seven
continents in seven days.

This had to start
only three and a half months

after the operation.

I got a phone call from Ran
on the intensive care unit

and, you know,
he basically said,

"Don't cancel the marathons.

They're telling me that my heart
wasn't much damaged."

Sir Ranulph, who had
heart bypass surgery in June,

is raising money for
the British Heart Foundation.

RAN: The choice was slightly
not selfish but personal.

The British Heart Foundation
had saved my life.

-(BLOWS WHISTLE)
-Go, guys.

REPORTER: Sir Ranulph Fiennes

and fellow Antarctic explorer,
Dr Mike Stroud,

are trying something
no one's ever attempted.

If they complete
all seven marathons,

they'll have run 183.4 miles

and travelled 45,000 miles
by air.

WOMAN: There are gonna be people
watching this

and listening to you thinking
what you're doing is suicidal.

RAN: I didn't want
to push myself.

I didn't want to, at any point,

have my heart beating more
than a 130 beats a minute.

WOMAN: Did it?

I forgot to take
the pulse machine,

so I don't know whether it did
or it didn't.

You forgot to bring that?

Isn't that a vital piece
of equipment?

Yeah, that was very stupid.

Ran was doing
his seven marathons,

which was batty, really.

Ginny was gonna come up

and watch him
do the one in London.

-But she didn't come.
-We're off.

(CHEERING)

Good luck!

FIONA: So I rang her up
that evening.

"Why didn't you come?" She said,
"Oh, well, I had backache."

Anyway, I rang her up
the next day

and said,
"How is your backache?"

She said,
"Well, it wasn't backache."

So I said, "Well, Ginny,
for goodness' sake,

why don't I come down
and pick you up?

And I can bring you back
to London

and be there
when Ran comes back."

Um, and she said, "No, I can't.
But you mustn't tell him."

So it was simply awful.

But that's the way
she wanted to do it.

RAN: I can remember it
very, very clearly indeed.

(GASPS)

I don't know how long
she'd had cancer for.

GINNY:
One, two, three, four, five.

Five, four, three, two, one.

One, two, three, four, five.
Five, four, three, two, one.

All my love and look forward
to seeing you then.

RAN: Thank you very much,
my love. That's excellent.

And that's good graft. Over.

GINNY: Well, I love you
very much. Speak to you later.

RAN: Nighty night. Bye.

ANTON: The phone rang here
at home and it was Ran.

And he said, "I've got
really, really bad news."

He said she'd died
about 15 minutes ago.

"She's still in my arms."

I think I've massacred
this rose.

I don't know
what to do with it.

ANTON: He was very business-like
about everything

because that's how
he dealt with it.

RAN: My problem is
it is the only topic

which makes me emotional

and so I have to, inside,
force myself not to get that way

because the love was huge

and therefore
time doesn't heal it, really.

It sort of sits.

FIONA: It was a terrible time
for him.

And poor Ran,

he had three really close family
who all died.

His sister was cancer

and his mother
fairly shortly after Ginny.

RAN: I can't remember
when and where

I gave to actually crying.

I can remember at night, going
up and talking to the animals

using the names
that she had for them,

and Julia,
and so on and so forth.

And just desperately wanting

to get out of a mood
of zero nothingness.

FIONA: Ginny said, you know,
"This is such a shame

because he was going to try
and ease off a bit

and we were gonna have more time
together and more holidays."

-I think he would have.
-Push, push, push.

Well, I don't know, actually.

Knowing Ran, he probably would
have carried on doing something,

but I think it certainly
drove him to just go flat out.

MAN: Well done, Ran.
Well done, Ran.

Keep it going
as long as you can.

Come on, push it on. Push, push,
push, push, push. That's good.

RAN: I worked and worked
and worked and worked

so as to be away from home.

Life was completely second-rate.

Now, terribly sad,
last year, your wife died.

You'd been together
since you were...?

Well, she was nine, I was 12.

We knew each other
for about 48 years.

Do you think that your drive
to keep going

even now with the marathons

and so on and future exhibition,
expeditions

has anything to do with the fact

that you just want
to keep yourself busy?

I don't want to think any more.

I don't want to have time
to think.

So, the more I can do,
it's good. Yeah, keep busy.

He went up Everest.

(SIGHS) Um...

But he told me that it was
a sort of not an easy way out,

but if he dropped off a cliff
or fell asleep in the snow,

it would be an option,

because he had no motivation
to go on after Ginny died.

But he turned back
because he felt his heart going.

That's the most heroic thing
I know that he's done,

given who he was.

His instinct to survive
is stronger than his, um, grief.

RAN: Just getting ready
to, um, go into the sea

to get rid
of suspected Parkinson's.

I've tried what
the doctor suggested,

and it didn't stop the shaking.

And basically, I saw on TV,

that you can make your own
body protein by getting cold.

The exact opposite
to what I became quite good at,

which was staying warm.
(CHUCKLES)

(♪ "THE COLD SONG"
BY KLAUS NOMI)

I can remember with Anton
and Jill and Ginny,

Paris holiday.

We decided we would have a look
in the catacombs.

And you walked down.

And on that side and that side,

each person is bones
and a skull,

bones and a skull,
bones and a skull. Twelve high.

Millions.

What's the name of that one?
What's the name of that one?

Did that one worry?

What you worry about
is just utterly pointless.

It's not going
to affect anything.

You're gonna end up
like one of them.

MATT: But you'll have a name
cos you'll be...

People will remember
what you've done.

Maybe ten years or something.
Very unlikely.

But I don't mind about that
because of what I've just said.

It's just irrelevant.

We have a time down here
and when it's done, it's done.

For 16 years since Ginny died,

I probably
only come into the house

for, like, a bath,
or watching TV.

I thought that it was that way
but it obviously isn't.

So, I started advertising
to sell Greenlands

about three years ago.

I tell you,
I'm gonna start hitting it.

This house, this was Ginny.

Now Ginny's gone, the house
has lost that anchorage.

But the place
brings back the memories.

GINNY: The view out
of the sitting room window.

It's quite pretty.

And Ran's clearing away
the clinker from the chimney.

RAN: God.

GINNY: And at the back
of the house, some barns.

It's got cupboards
and fitted shelves.

RAN: It's lovely hearing
her voice like this.

-Tea up, pussy cat.
-OK.

Tea up.

Is there any tea leaves?
Teabags?

RAN: This is wonderful.

-(HOWLS)
-(DOG BARKS)

-(HOWLS)
-(DOG BARKS)

Darling, are there any teabags?

-Teabags?
-GINNY: No. Finished them all.

(LAUGHS)

That's so funny.
That's so wonderful.

Walkies time. Come on.

Come on. (WHISTLES) Puppy.

It's just amazing how time...

Huh.

Just a memory which you've
totally forgotten ever existed

and all the happiness
that was involved.

How many other times have I
forgotten that were lovely?

But we had our time.

We made it
the way Ginny wanted it to be.

And, um, when we withdraw, we'll
leave them with the atmosphere.

When, you know,
not long before she died,

she looked at me and said,

"I've said to Ran
that he must remarry

and have a child."

You know, that was it.

She was desperate for him
to have a child

cos she knew that's what
he wanted more than anything.

So, uh, yeah,
she did want him to move on.

Cor, stiff.

Trouble with not being able
to straighten up.

The first time I've spent
the entire night tied in.

And that's the sort of,
shall we say, lavatory.

2007, when we climbed the North
Face of the Eiger together,

he was realising that,

you know, he wasn't the man

that he was
in his thirties and forties.

He was coming to terms
with that sort of fragility.

You know,
his own internal battle

that his body wasn't
the impregnable fortress

that perhaps it once was.

Often find I literally
can't do moves

which other people can do

where there's
a particularly tricky grip

which has to be
on the left hand.

IAN: Yeah.

RAN: That really foxes me.

Don't want to lose my axe.

-Careful.
-Why?

Well, it'll cut the rope.

-That wouldn't be good.
-No.

So Ran's basically hanging
completely above the void.

Not liking it one bit,
I tell you.

-What did you reckon to that?
-Hair-raising, I'm afraid.

Not my cup of tea at all.
Very frightening.

KENTON: It was
a pretty interesting, rich time

to be around Ran.

You know,
he's still going through

all the emotional rigmarole
of Ginny's loss

and I think it was his sister
was about to pass away and...

So he was dealing with a lot
of that emotional imbalance.

And, you know,
it was also the time

that he first got together
with Louise.

He rang to say
that he'd met somebody.

And he was going to marry them.

And I said, "You've gotta do
what you're happy doing,

because you just want someone

to be happy that you love,
don't you?"

Ran's plans to climb the Eiger
have absolutely terrified me.

It's not my idea of something
particularly pleasant.

And after how ill
Everest made him,

you would have thought

that he would be less inclined
to do such things.

REPORTER: And for the
first time on this expedition,

he has a bigger reason
than ever before

to get back down alive.

His four-month-old daughter,
Elizabeth.

Those of us who
were close friends of his

were told that because
he was marrying again

that, you know,
his life was going to change.

Those particular chapters
have closed

involving
old army friends like me,

and that he was setting off
on a new a new life.

JEAN: Everything
was separate in Ran's life.

-I think he's, you know...
-PETER: Compartmentalised.

JEAN:
Yeah, every part of his life.

We're in a compartment,
aren't we?

PETER: Hmm.

JEAN: And Louise is definitely
in a compartment.

RAN: My whole world,
every person she spoke to,

would bring up Ginny
and this and that,

and Ginny and that,
and so on.

I wouldn't have liked it
if I'd been Louise.

I'm fearful that I lose
the close warmth of my wife

because of her thinking,
"Oh, dear,

he's still living
back in those times."

Ran doesn't run away.
He doesn't run away.

The competitive instinct
kicks in.

He's, "I'm gonna climb
that bloody hill."

It's third time lucky for
the explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes

who's become the oldest Briton
to scale Everest.

This morning, the 65-year-old

finally made it
to the top of the world.

RAN:

(LAUGHTER)

Is that it, or do you have
any more mountains

that you want to conquer?

I'm not going near
any more mountains,

not even for Marie Curie.

I hate them.

Fifteen hundred feet on Exmoor

is quite high enough.
So, that's it.

(COW MOOS)

That was when they had

the Guinness World
Hall of Fame in London.

The world's greatest musician,
Paul McCartney.

The world's greatest
sportsperson,

Billie Jean King. Myself.

And lastly, that gentleman
who was a cuckoo clock salesman

who had an amazing ability

to walk over a hundred yards on
red-hot coals with no shoes on.

Scientists tried to work it out
but they couldn't.

That's Bothie coming in
from the sunlight.

That's Ginny.

That is Charlie Burton,
a wonderful guy,

at the base camp in Antarctica,
just before setting out.

Sorry, I thought you wanted

to photograph
what I was pointing at.

That's, um, last year.

That's Elizabeth. She would
have been 13 coming on 14.

And Louise.

And me looking,
or trying to look smart.

We're a happy family,
as they call it.

MATT: How do you find parenting?

RAN: I find it's, um, wonderful

and it means
that you've had a complete life.

And seeing someone
who is your blood,

and the blood
of the someone you love,

is just a great process
all the time.

When we were having
little mock fights,

Elizabeth used to always go
for your nose.

She was happiest when she
managed to get Daddy's nose,

about the size of which
she was usually rude.

Her nickname
is Mouse or Totty Mouse.

Louise's nickname is Lollick.

I asked her the other day,
"Why do I call you Lollick?"

She thought for a bit
and said she couldn't remember.

And I can't remember either.

I've made a plan
based on statistics.

I'll do what I've always
been doing every year

which is to climb Crib Goch

until I'm 85.

86th year I'll have to find
something else.

I might try Ben Nevis.

I'm not sure if I'll be allowed
to drive then.

(PHONE LINE RINGS)

Hello, sweetheart.

I'm leaving early.
I'm leaving now.

Right, darling.

Very, very much love to you
and give Mouse a kiss.

LOUISE: She's amazing.

RAN: Lovely Mouse.
Lots and lots of love.

-Love you very much.
-I love you.

Love you, sweetheart. Darling.

(♪ "TICKLE ME PINK"
BY JOHNNY FLYNN SHOWBAND)