‘The Truth about Captain Scott’: The Last Place on Earth, Debunking, Sexuality and Decline in the 1980s

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This article analyses a major television series on the race to the South Pole, The Last Place on Earth (1985), an adaptation of Roland Huntford's classic debunking biography Scott and Amundsen (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1979). Both the Thatcherite Huntford's book and Marxist Trevor Griffiths' screenplay condemned Captain Scott. The article reveals how the debunking of imperial heroes collided with debates about decline in 1980s Britain: the failings of an individual embodied the failings of the nation, configured through references to gender and sexuality. The article also emphasises the appeal of interpretations of the making of an imperial hero based on conspiracy and censorship.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)857-881
Number of pages24
JournalThe Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2014

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