A new television series shows the lives of people who have made the northernmost city in the world their home.
Life on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard is about to hit the airwaves. Earlier, the British television giant has made several documentaries on the arctic wildlife in Svalbard, but this time it’s the people who get the most attention.
In the new television series titled Svalbard: Life on the Edge BBC Earth documents the everyday life of ten Longyearbyen residents. One of the main characters is the local taxi driver, Wiggo Antonsen.
Seven years ago, Wiggo Antonsen moved from the small town of Fetsund outside of Oslo to Svalbard. Since then he has never looked back.
“I was fed up with all the commotion and traffic problems on the mainland”, says Antonsen in an interview with Norwegian news site Aftenposten.
“A traffic jam in Svalbard is when you have one car in front of you and you see another one in the mirror”.
Svalbard: Life on the Edge is a 10-part series following the lives of ten people who’ve made the inhospitable Arctic island of Svalbard their home. The harsh conditions, physical confines and extreme danger of the most northerly town in the world make ordinary life extraordinary.
Svalbard has a strong international community. In the series the cast consists of British, American and Norwegian adventurers, tourist guides, students and towns-folk. They live cheek by jowl, battling minus 40 degree temperatures, avalanches, polar bears, sea ice and a single shop where milk can be more expensive than whisky.
Svalbard: Life on the Edge is said to capture the human story in an extreme environment: true grit, daring adventure, humor, emotional heartbreak and a sense of the absurd as experienced by people who are often locked in by ice, live in total darkness for four months of the year and find themselves confronted with a social system where birth, death and being broke is illegal – but carrying a gun is mandatory.
Svalbard: Life on the Edge premieres on BBC Earth Monday 29 August.
The Svalbard Islands are located in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between Norway and the North Pole. Here, you will find untouched arctic wilderness and unique wildlife in a setting that is both rugged and fragile at the same time.
More than 120 meters into the mountain, sheltered from nature’s temper and man-made disasters, you literally find the seeds of Earth’s plant life.