A special nine-week Blue Peter series, starting on Monday 23rd January at 4.30pm on BBC One, follows fearless Blue Peter presenter Helen Skelton's progress as she sets out to complete a gruelling 500 mile challenge to the South Pole for Sport Relief 2012.

Helen’s Polar Challenge for Sport Relief sees the daredevil presenter take on the toughest adventure of her life – and one of the most demanding physical challenges ever undertaken in aid of Sport Relief. To reach the South Pole, Helen must travel for up to 14 hours a day across the coldest and windiest place on earth, battling ferocious 80mph winds and temperatures as low as -50 degrees Celsius.

Before landing in Antarctica, Helen spends months preparing for her challenge. First she learns about Roald Amundsen’s and Captain Scott’s treacherous race to the South Pole 100 years ago and meets Britain’s most famous explorer, Sir Ranulph Fiennes. ‘Super Skelton’ then has to master the three means of transport that she will use to power herself to the pole – ski, kite-ski and – in a world first – by a specially made snow bike. Helen learns to kite surf in Devon, travels to LA to practise on the specially designed bike on sand, learns how to cross-country ski and kite ski in New Zealand and finally, undergoes cold climate training in Iceland.

Once in Antarctica Helen must not only spend Christmas away from home, but she faces a number of dangers whilst on the ice including dehydration, frostbite, sun blindness, snow drifts and altitude sickness, and is expected to burn up to 10,000 calories a day. If all that wasn’t enough, Helen is pulling a heavy sledge behind her containing everything she’ll need for the entire journey.

The series also follows Helen as she travels to Sierra Leone to see how Sport Relief cash is helping to provide clean, safe water to people in areas that desperately need it. There she meets Issa, a 12 year-old boy who lost three of his family members to cholera from drinking dirty water – including his mum. Helen also sees how Sport Relief cash will be spent here in the UK and visits a project in Lancashire, which helps to educate young people about the risks of alcohol abuse. Helen hopes her incredible effort will inspire people to enter the Sport Relief Mile and help raise money that will change lives forever.

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