Our Productions

Death on the Amazon



  • 2003
  • 50 mins
  • FIVE/National Geographic

In 2001 Sir Peter Blake, round-the-world yachting legend, adventurer and UN Environmental Ambassador, started a five year mission to search out the world’s most special places and heighten environmental awareness. Death on the Amazon, is a compelling record of Sir Peter’s last voyage into the heart of the Amazon. It is the story of a remarkable journey on the Seamaster, a 120 ft yacht that travelled further than any yacht before. It is also a moving tribute to an extraordinary man whose life was tragically taken by pirates as the team were leaving the Amazon.

Round-the-world yachting legend, Sir Peter Blake, outshone all others. In ENZA he broke all the records for the fastest ever circum-navigation of the world. Next he took on the America’s Cup, winning it for New Zealand not just once, but for a second time in 2000. Already a national hero in his native New Zealand, he had the whole country behind him, wearing his trademark, lucky red socks. There was no one with more knowledge than Blake of the wild Southern Seas, where races are won and lost. He could go no higher in competitive racing – a new challenge was needed and it came from the albatross. Once plentiful in the Southern Ocean, Blake was horrified to see them gradually disappearing with each round-the-world race he undertook. What was the reason?

Blake now turned his formidable energy into raising global awareness of the environment. On his new boat, the Seamaster, he started visiting the world’s hotspots. Starting with Antarctica, he then travelled north, up the coast of South America to the mighty Amazon river. Here Blake took Seamaster the furthest he had ever been from the sea, ending up in the Rio Negro, a tributary of the Amazon. When Seamaster could go no further half the crew then travelled on by bongo raft up the Casiquaire Canal to investigate Venezuela’s BioSphere reserve and claims of illegal mining.

Sir Peter’s environmental mission came tragically to an end in December 2001. The jungle team were in remotest Venezuela when they learnt of their leader’s death. Death on the Amazon is a powerful tribute to Sir Peter Blake, an extraordinary record of his last voyage and the environmental issues facing the Amazon. It is also an exceptionally moving record of how his crew come to terms with his loss. He died, doing what he passionately believed in, heightening awareness of the environment and just how fragile our precious world is.

Publicity

"The film is a moving tribute to his bravery". - The Sunday Telegraph
"At last a proper, hour-long documentary explanation of the tragic demise of yachtsman Sir Peter Blake". - The Observer
"A poignant documentary". - The Sunday Times
"Truly compulsive viewing". - Daily Mail Pick Of The Day
"A powerful memorial to an exceptional man". - The Times
"The artful format of the video diary and the significance of a great man's death make this documentary extremely affecting”. - The Guardian

Credits

  • Narrator:
    Robert Lindsay
  • Photography:
    Simon Atkins
  • Music:
    Daniel Pemberton
  • Editors:
    Jonathan Cooke and Richard Wilkinson
  • Director:
    Simon Atkins
  • Producer:
    Mike Cunliffe
  • Executive Producer:
    Sarah Cunliffe