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Deep within the arctic circle lies the most dangerous place on earth to sail a ship. A maze of islands and drifting ice where channels open without warning and close again just as fast.

This ice stretches for 1,000 miles across the Canadian arctic. Of the hundreds of attempts to find a route across it - the fabled Northwest Passage - two are legends in themselves.

The first, led by Sir John Franklin, was the climax of Victorian Britain's passion for conquest, as arrogant and heroic as any expedition in history. The second, led by the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, was a penniless venture in a tiny second-hand fishing boat, but so revolutionary it tore up the rulebook of exploration.

Both men would pay a devastating price in their battle with the ice maze.

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The Search for the Northwest Passage on Channel4.com

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Within the Arctic Circle lies the fabled Northwest Passage, the holy grail of exploration for more than 400 years. This film looks at two legendary ventures by Sir John Franklin and Roald Amundsen.