Joanna Lumley In The Land Of The Northern Lights

LIVING CHANNEL – Sunday 20 March, 8.30pm

One of the UK’s best-loved personalities and most successful comedy exports pursues a life-long dream to track down the elusive and beautiful Northern Lights. Comedy icon Joanna Lumley grew up in tropical Malaysia, and as a little girl had never seen snow or felt cold. Inspired by the fairy tales and picture books of the North, full of trolls and snow queens, she always longed to make this journey. But she could never have guessed what a challenging, epic, diverse and absorbing arctic adventure awaited her.

7:30pm Saturday, January 2 on TV One

Joanna Lumley pursues a life-long dream to track down the elusive and beautiful Northern Lights in TV ONE’s new Joanna Lumley In The Land Of The Northern Lights (tonight at 7.30pm).

As she travels to Norway’s far north, with no guarantees that this incredible natural phenomena will appear, she is unsure if her journey will be in vain, or if she will finally fulfil her lifetime ambition.

Lumley grew up in tropical Malaysia and, as a little girl, had never seen snow or felt the cold. Inspired by the fairy tales and picture books of the north she always longed to make this trip.

Lumley says the idea of cold, snow and ice was unimaginable: “We never even needed to wear cardigans. I couldn’t think what it would be like.”

The thought of the Northern Lights has always hung in Lumley’s mind and is something she has longed to see with all her heart, she says. Now at last realising her childhood dream, she travels North across the Arctic Circle, up through Norway and finally to Svalbard, the most northerly permanently inhabited place on Earth, where she has to cope with freezing-cold temperatures.

Lumley says Norway is a country well equipped for Arctic conditions, but parts of the journey proved tough going. It would be a huge disappointment for Lumley not to see the Northern Lights, but she is aware the trip may not prove fruitful. “There’s something wonderful about nature, that you can’t always guarantee it,” she says.

She describes the majestic snowfields, mountains and fjords of Norway as a “fairytale vision, savage, sublime and quite overpowering”, but its greatest glory doesn’t come from Earth, it comes from space where particles, carried on solar winds, are attracted by the magnetic poles. As these particles hit the top of the atmosphere, their energy is converted into the most astonishing light show – the Aurora Borealis.