“Hillary,” a six-part New Zealand drama series about mountaineer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary, will have new episodes every Sunday starting on July 8 at 6 p.m. on Arizona PBS.
Based on thousands of hours of exclusive interviews, “Hillary” tells the story of the first man to conquer Mt. Everest. From his beekeeping days in South Auckland, to his ascent of the world’s highest mountain with climbing partner Tenzing Norgay, to the plane crash that killed his wife and daughter, the TV ONE series lovingly and vividly brings back to life the man New Zealanders affectionately called “Sir Ed.”
Andrew Munro stars as Hillary, while Dean O’Gorman plays George Lowe, and Amy Usherwood plays Lady Louise Hillary.
Hillary becomes fascinated with the Himalaya after reading about the range. He hopes to help the war effort, but his father wants him to continue beekeeping. After serving in the Air Force, he meets George Lowe, his lifelong friend and climbing partner.
Hillary falls in love with Louise but is too shy to approach her. He and his hero, mountaineer Eric Shipton, discover a new route up Mt. Everest and hope to be the first to reach the top – until they are thwarted by a Swiss expedition.
The Swiss expedition fails, and Hillary meets a new climbing partner, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, who is equally driven to ascend Everest. Together, and with Lowe’s support, they seize the opportunity to reach the peak.
Hillary arrives home to worldwide fame. He marries Louise and returns to beekeeping. When he is offered the chance to join an Antarctica expedition, he must choose between a new adventure and staying behind with his growing family.
“The Race to the Pole”
Hillary is homesick and bored with setting up supply bases for the Antarctica expedition. He decides to try for another major achievement: reaching the South Pole himself.
After suffering a medical emergency, Hillary devotes himself to building schools and hospitals in Nepal. He faces his biggest struggle yet–forgiving himself–when Louise and their youngest child die in a plane crash on the way to visit him.
When he summited Everest in May 1953 and, as he told it, “knocked the bastard off,” Hillary put his small home country on the map. He was so beloved in New Zealand that his likeness is featured on the five dollar note, and he was given a state funeral after his 2008 death.