Going to Extremes and Surviving Extremes are television programmes made for Channel 4 by Nick Middleton. In each episode of the two series, Middleton visits an extreme area of the world to find out how people have adapted to life there.

Both Going to Extremes and Surviving Extremes are accompanied by books of the same name, except in the USA where the latter is titled Extremes: Surviving the World's Harshest Environments.

There is also a third series, titled "Going to Extremes: The Silk Routes".

Going to Extremes

In this series, Middleton visited the coldest, hottest, driest and wettest permanent settlements in the world.Cold: The coldest permanent settlement in the world is Oymyakon in Siberia, where the average winter temperature is -44° C (-47° F).Dry: The driest permanent settlement in the world is Arica in Chile where there have been fourteen consecutive years without a drop of rain and so fog is people's only source of water. Wet: The wettest permanent settlement in the world is Mawsynram in India which annually competes for the title with its neighbour Cherrapunji. However, outside of the monsoon season, there is water shortage.Hot: The hottest permanent settlement in the world is Dallol in Ethiopia known as the 'hell hole of creation' where the temperature averages 34° C (94° F) year round.

Surviving Extremes

In his second series, Middleton visited places without permanent towns, locations where "survival requires a lifestyle completely in tune with Nature's rhythms." Sand - Niger: Middleton travels with a group of women across the fiendishly hot Sahara to trade date palms.Ice - Greenland: Middleton travels with the indigenous people of northern Greenland, where four fifths of the land is permanently ice-covered.Jungle - Democratic Republic of Congo: Middleton visits the dangerous jungle in Congo.Swamp - Papua: Middleton discovers how people live with very little solid land.

Further reading

  • Middleton, Nick Going to Extremes: Mud, Sweat and Frozen Tears.
    • Channel 4 books, 2001, hardcover, ISBN 0-7522-2016-0
    • Pan Books - Macmillan UK, 2003, paperback, ISBN 0-330-49384-1.
  • Middleton, Nick Extremes : Surviving the World's Harshest Environments .
    • Thomas Dunne Books, 2005, hardcover, ISBN 0-312-34266-7.
  • Middleton, Nick Surviving Extremes.
    • Macmillan, paperback, 2004, ISBN 0-330-43182-X.
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