If you still can’t fasten your trousers from piling in the turkey yesterday, now is the time to stew on the couch and switch on the Tele (and dig into some Quality Street). But if you don’t feel like watching the Christmas episode of the Flintstones for the fifteenth time, maybe you’ll enjoy some of these ‘holiday’ TV shows with a difference. Here is our pick of the top ten travel TV shows (including one epic fail). Happy boxing day!
An Idiot Abroad
Karl Pilkington’s travel plans lie in the hands of his ex-radio show host colleagues, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. Pilkington’s indifference to seeing the world is mocked by Gervais and Merchant who make him do just that, only with an enormous list of crazy things to do (while they sit back and watch from the comfort of their London office). Expect activities that vary from being dropped into the Amazon jungle and told he has to survive to climbing Mount Fuji.
Around The World In 80 Days
In 2001, the BBC produced this seven episode series, which follows Monty Python star Michael Palin, on an attempt to become a Jules Verne’s hero. Palin aims to match the route of his fictional predecessor by circling the globe in 80 days without the use of modern air transportation. Palin is responsive, intelligent, candid and most importantly, hilarious, as he creates a journey filled with fascinating encounters – TV gold.
Stephen Fry in America
Stephen Fry, a man of many talents (he is an actor, screenwriter, author, playwright, journalist, poet, and comedian), journeys through America in a traditional London cab. Beginning in Maine, he drives through the lower 48 states, before flying to Alaska and Hawaii. However, far from your typical travel TV show, Fry’s interpretation is as honest and endearing as the man himself, and full of his usual tongue in cheek humour of course.
Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations
Anthony’s Bourdain’s No Reservations has moderately redeemed the Travel Channel for years of inane broadcasting. Bourdain, whose wickedly funny commentary is the greatest thing about the whole show, visits a series of disparate destinations including Iceland, Vietnam and New Jersey. His unfiltered take on local foods and atypical typical tourist activities makes for a personality-driven show, but then what else could you expect from the world’s leading punk chef novelist?
Globe Trekker has filmed over 130 episodes and is hosted by a total of 26 people, offering a unique feel depending on which host appears in each episode. The show acts as a tour guide through a series of destinations, with a huge amount of time and effort put into each well thought out, well edited episode.
The Amazing Race
A reality TV show with a difference, the contestants on The Amazing Race are racing the globe in both famous and offbeat locales.
Adventurer Bruce Parry, a former Royal Marine, is followed as he goes in search of knowledge from supposedly ‘primitive’ peoples around the world. He lives with a tribe for at least a month, learning everything about their lives – even their language. At the end of each episode, there’s genuine regret and often tears as he parts with the tribe, making for bona fide armchair travel.
Departures began when three friends were talking about travel shows and decided that they could make something better. Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach leave all familiarities behind and set out into the beyond. Expect incredible cinematography and an authentic, personal approach to travel. The show has won three Gemini Awards and with just one look at the landscapes presented, you’ll understand why.
Another one from Michael Palin, this time he makes an epic journey around the Pacific Rim from the Arctic, coastal Asia, Australia, Antarctica, South America, North America and back. As is the norm from Palin, it is he that makes the series so memorable, admirable and relatable.
Boozed up Brits Abroad (epic fail)
On the other hand, shows such as Boozed Up Brits Abroad are a cold, cruel reality check for those living in the UK. If you enjoy feeling embarrassed by your nation, this is the show for you. Expect to see profane language, nudity and of course, lots of vomiting.