The loneliest island

I’m lucky to have visited one of the world’s most remote inhabited islands twice. Ascension lies in the middle of the Atlantic, roughly halfway between Africa and South America – and the only reason I’ve been there is because of its runway: if you’re flying from one side of the planet to another, Ascension is…

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On the radio

I’m very excited – and incredibly lucky – to be doing more radio at the moment. As well as my penguin programmes for BBC Radio 4 recently, I’ve just finished making South America in the South Atlantic with Sparklab Productions, which is going out BBC World Service in August, Radio 4’s From Our Own Correspondent…

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The penguins that wouldn’t explode

The penguins that wouldn’t explode

It all started with a random line spotted during a search for something else. “Penguins aren’t heavy enough to set off landmines,” it said, or thereabouts. Was that true? Yes, it was – or, at least, mostly true: anti-personnel mines need about 8kg of weight to set them off, and most penguin species don’t get…

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Cracks in the ice

Cracks in the ice

So the big Antarctic news today (7 Dec 16) is all based on this press release put out yesterday by British Antarctic Survey, the government body coordinating the UK’s polar research, about their intention to move the Halley Research Station away from an expanding chasm in the ice shelf on which Halley sits. First, hats off to…

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Talking to people

I’m very happy to have given two talks in the last few days, both in my home town, Banbury. The first was an “Antarctic Evening”. Soon after I got home from my trip to Antarctica earlier this year with the BBC weather presenter Peter Gibbs, a local friend – community organiser Steve Gold – suggested…

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Relaunch day

Relaunch day

I’ve been waiting almost a year for this. Today’s the day I relaunch matthewteller.com, with a much-needed new design by the brilliant, patient and all-round excellent Tom Hole, who runs his own design studio named Stirtingale. The delays – and the lack of momentum on this blog over 2016 – are all down to me: first I…

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I flew / In my dream

I flew In my dream   Striding through the night fields My pliable legs grew to spindles And I left the pursuers and their furrows And I watched myself, beside myself, with my spindled legs below Striding through the night fields   And then “Forget the legs” And they retracted As I flew In my…

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Movies on a ship

Movies on a ship

I never liked that whole thing of bringing your music along. It can be funny, listening to James Brown while driving through the Jordanian desert, but I always thought it was a con. You’re just giving yourself a bogus lifeline in the turmoil of travel, setting one movie in your head against another, like they’re…

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South

South

On 13th January 2016 I’m due to fly from London to Cape Town, alongside a BBC TV crew and BBC presenter Peter Gibbs. There we’ll join the RRS (Royal Research Ship) Ernest Shackleton, for a two-week voyage south across 2,500 miles of the roughest seas in the world, to reach the British Antarctic research station Halley in the…

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The rise and rise of Jordanian cinema

A wonderful recent assignment in Jordan, writing about the growth of independent cinema. Here’s what I wrote on Facebook: Copy/pasting the FB status here: I had such fun writing this article on Jordan’s emerging film industry, and the work of the amazing Nadine Toukan as creator, mentor, guide and inspiration. It’s an article I’ve been wanting…

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