MEDiA: Lost At Sea

Peter Bird, at sea.

Phew! This was a pretty hardcore watch. I loved the whole Peter Bird part; he’s very easy to like. But he died doing what he loved, or was was obsessed by, rowing across oceans. Mental!

The hard part, harder than his death, for me, is the legacy, particularly as to how it affected his wife and son. Peter’s son Louis has clearly been profoundly effected by his loss, and the film’s subtitle is My Dad’s Last Journey.

Peter, wife Polly, and little Louis.

It’s a very powerful story, equal parts sad and seductive; dreams of adventure, fame and freedom, pushing oneself to achieve something unique, and at the same time being solitary. Those things appeal to me.

But there are other darker sides, such as a trauma in the family; Cyril, Peter’s father, and Louis‘ grandfather, was what we’d now call bi-polar, and committed suicide by drowning himself in the Thames. Peter then went out and ultimately did something similar, albeit in a very different way. And perhaps neither deliberately nor intentionally?

I’m assuming this is Xmas day, at sea.
This image is fab! Oozing adventure glamour.

Using archival film and audio, and with old newsreels and family and friends as talking heads, this excellent film tells a compelling story. I really loved this documentary. It’s very potent. Very sad. But it also has something magical about it. Hard to convey.

Essential viewing.

PS – Louis decided to row the Pacific, like his father, but – unlike dad – as part of a two man team. To face his own fears, and to try and understand what drove his father.

Louis, with the wreck of the boat recovered without Peter.

PPS – This superb doc’ was directed by Johnny Burke, Amy Ellis’ brother. We spent a terrifically convivial night out recently with Dan, Amy, Johnny and a number of others, during which this programme came up Prompting me to track it down on All 4. Very glad I did!

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