Skip to main content

HILLARY (Series Finale This Sunday!)

Airs Sundays, July 15-Aug. 19, 2018 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

Dean O'Gorman as George Lowe & Andrew Munro as Ed Hillary.

Credit: Courtesy of Carmen Leonard

Above: Dean O'Gorman as George Lowe & Andrew Munro as Ed Hillary.

A New Zealand Drama About the Life of the First Man to Summit Mt. Everest

HILLARY, a six-part New Zealand drama series about mountaineer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary, is based on thousands of hours of exclusive interviews.

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 series lovingly and vividly brings back to life the man New Zealanders affectionately called “Sir Ed.”

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.

Andrew Munro ("The Kick") stars as Hillary, while Dean O’Gorman ("The Hobbit") plays George Lowe, his longtime friend and climbing partner, and Amy Usherwood (SHORTLAND STREET) plays his wife, Lady Louise Hillary.

HILLARY Official Trailer

View a scripted drama about the life of Sir Edmund Hillary, best known as the first man to conquer Mount Everest. Andrew Munro stars as Hillary, with Dean O’Gorman as his lifelong climbing companion, George Lowe.


Episode 1: “Standing Tall” airs Sunday, July 15 at 8 p.m. - 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.

Ed Meets George Lowe

Five years after his military service, Ed continues his climbing adventures. He later meets George Lowe and the two become climbing partners, taking their first trip together to the Beaumont track.

Episode 2: “Louise” airs Sunday, July 22 at 8 p.m. - 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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Jae Frew

Dean O'Gorman as George Lowe, Andrew Munro as Ed Hillary, Jared Turner as Earle Riddiford, Tama Jarman as Ed Cotter, Amy Usherwood as Louise Hillary (Nee Rose) and and Nick Blake as Jim Rose (Louise's Father).

Episode 3: “Everest” airs Sunday, July 29 at 8 p.m. - 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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Carmen Leonard

Yadav Gurung as Passang, Stephen Lovatt as John Hunt, Ryan O'Kane as Tom Bourdillon, Kelson Henderson as Charles Evans, Darren Young as Tenzing, Dean O'Gorman as George Lowe, Andrew Munro as Ed Hillary.

Episode 4: “Home” airs Sunday, Aug. 5 at 8 p.m. - 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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Jae Frew

Nick Blake as Jim Rose, Andrew Munro as Ed Hillary, Amy Usherwood as Louise Hillary and Alison Bruce as Phyllis Rose.

Episode 5: “The Race To The Pole” airs Sunday, Aug. 12 at 8 p.m. - 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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Jae Frew

Joel Tobeck as Bunny Fuchs and Dean O'Gorman as George Lowe.

Episode 6: “Heartbreak” airs Sunday, Aug. 19 at 8 p.m. - 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.

Photo credit: Courtesy of Carmen Leonard

Dean O'Gorman as George Lowe & Andrew Munro as Ed Hillary.


Episodes will be available for streaming on demand for a limited time after each broadcast. Extend your viewing window with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members ($60 yearly) using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.


Produced by Great Southern Television. HILLARY is written by Tom Scott ("Rage"), with whom Hillary entrusted his life story. The series is directed by Danny Mulheron ("Fresh Meat"), executive produced by Phillip Smith (COAST NEW ZEALAND) and produced by Carmen Leonard ("Erebus: Operation Overdue").

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.