BBC Radio 4, 26 March 2009
Based on a true story, this drama described the close friendship between
the family planning pioneer Marie Stopes (Meg Fraser) and Captain Robert Falcon Scott (Nick Underwood). As portrayed by Stephen
Keyworth, they were two of a kind - stubborn, self-willed and totally committed to their specific lines of work. In Stopes's
case, this was the only way to survive in the male-dominated world of early twentieth century academe, which viewed her presence
as a lecturer and pioneering scientist with considerable suspicion. Scott, on the other hand, was something of a celebrity
- a polar explorer attracting considerable publicity in Edwardian England for his efforts to discover hitherto uncharted regions
The two of them met quite by chance; but immediately discovered a shared interest
in palaeontology. Stopes had a particular wish to accompany Scott on one of his expeditions, but Scott deemed it too dangerous
for her to go. He might have been a celebrated explorer, but his attitudes towards women remained characteristic of his time.
The play ended in 1912 with Scott's ill-fated journey to the South Pole; amongst his effects discovered next to the tent where
he died were a collection of rocks intended for Stopes. Despite his reluctance to have her with him, he never forgot her.
The title "Godwanaland" could best be defined as a Tuopia, where Scott and Stopes discovered what they were looking for -
whether personal, material or emotional. The only sad aspect of this discovery was that it eventually cost Scott his life.
Godwanaland celebrated conviction: even if Stopes' determination was
viewed suspiciously by those around her, this only served to increase her sense of self-possession. Similarly Scott would
not be dissuaded from continuing his expeditions, even if he was well aware of the potential dangers involved. The director
of this BBC Scotland production was Kirsty Williams.