Simon Reeve completes his travels around the Tropics
with his new 6x60min BBC TV series:
TROPIC OF CANCER
Sunday nights, BBC2 at 8pm
Simon Reeve embarks on his most ambitious journey yet, circling the world following the line that marks the northern border of the earth's tropical region. This epic trip completes Simon's trilogy of journeys exploring the tropics, after his acclaimed series Equator and Tropic of Capricorn, and is his toughest, longest and greatest challenge – a 6x60min journey around the extraordinary TROPIC OF CANCER.
Starting on the paradise beaches of Mexico's Pacific Coast, Simon follows the Tropic of Cancer almost 23,000 miles east on a journey blending travel with current affairs. It is a thrilling adventure with a clear purpose: to explore the northern edge of the Tropics, the most important, beautiful, turbulent, endangered and violent region of our world.
Simon heads east across the Caribbean, the Sahara, crossing borders in North Africa closed to foreigners for decades, and then on through the deserts of Arabia and the remote jungles of Asia, to finish in Hawaii. He visits 18 countries, meeting amazing people, witnessing bizarre and beautiful sights, and encountering spectacular and endangered wildlife.
In Mexico Simon is put through his paces by a masked female wrestler, while in the Bahamas he uncovers the suffering of Haitian refugees. North Africa is full of surprises, from a long forgotten civil war to a vast scheme to extract millions of gallons of water from underneath the desert. In the jungles of Burma he meets villagers struggling to survive under brutal oppression.
This new series has a strong current affairs theme, as Simon explores some of the huge challenges facing the Tropics, including poverty, the drugs trade, climate change, industrial pollution, and forgotten conflicts. But it's also a spectacular travelogue, taking Simon and viewers to some of the most remote and beautiful places on earth.
"Following the Tropic of Cancer, the northern border of the Tropics, was a unique opportunity to explore and witness a slice of life in the most interesting and important region of the world: the Tropics!" says Simon. "The whole point of the journey is that tracking the Tropic of Cancer took us off the beaten track, to places we wouldn't normally visit, and parts of the world that are rarely visited by foreigners, let alone TV crews. It was an extraordinary opportunity and a fantastically exciting journey that was also frightening, uplifting, exhausting, upsetting, challenging and surprising. I heard stories, saw sights, and ate food I'll be remembering and dreaming about till the end of my days."
Amazon are selling the Tropic of Cancer DVD with their usual lovely discount:
WATCH A TEASER FOR THE SERIES AT
Click here for a selection of high-resolution publicity photographs available via Flickr
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BBC Press Pack for the series
BBC Quiz (!) for the series
“Revelatory, moving and intriguing, it’s much
more than just a travelogue.”
The Guardian: “beautifully shot, and Reeve is an excellent host, bringing knowledge, enthusiasm and a thirst for adventure to the mix. It’s the kind of television that Sunday nights are made for.”
The Times: “Like a one-man version of Unreported World”
Total TV Guide: “An intense, exhilarating journey which, because of Reeve’s intelligence and likeability, is probably the best travel documentary you’ll see all year.”
Daily Mail: “Reeve is engaging and informative, with a fearless approach and a good nose for a story.”
The Times: “a real gem. Our television screens are replete with intrepid young men, but Reeve is in a class of his own… the real deal in terms of intelligence and tenaciousness, charming his way in and out of situations that would make most ordinary people quake in their shoes. Reeve’s great strength is that while he guides us along the Tropic of Cancer, through some of the most beautiful yet demanding places on the planet, he does so with a genuine sense of curiosity and openness, never succumbing to cliché or getting sidetracked by his own agenda. He allows the people and situations to speak for themselves, and refrains from patronising or hectoring the viewer.”
Daily Mirror: “Amazing”
Simon started his Tropic of Cancer journey in Mexico, and travelled to Cuba, the Bahamas, Western Sahara, Mauritania, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Oman, India, Bangladesh, NE India, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Taiwan, and finished in Hawaii.
Programme 1: MEXICO, CUBA AND THE BAHAMAS
Programme 2: WESTERN SAHARA, MAURITANIA, ALGERIA, LIBYA
Programme 3: EGYPT, SAUDI ARABIA, UAE, OMAN
Programme 4: INDIA – GUJARAT, MADHYA PRADESH, W. BENGAL
Programme 5: BANGLADESH, TRIPURA, MIZORAM, BURMA
Programme 6: LAOS, VIETNAM, TAIWAN, HAWAII
Transmission: 6 x 60 minutes on BBC2, Sunday nights, March 2010.
The series will be trailed on BBC TV. Planned simulcast on BBC HD.
In TROPIC OF CANCER Simon Reeve goes on a raid with a Mexican SWAT team fighting the drug cartels, on patrol with the Indian Army as it battles rebels, and on safari searching for tigers from the back of an elephant.
Travelling along the Tropic of Cancer, Simon kite-surfs in Western Sahara, takes a train across Arabia, a boat through Bangladesh, a helicopter around Dubai, a ferry in Mexico, and a 4WD across remote borders in North Africa. Along the way he braves temperatures of 52C/130F in Oman, the monsoon rains of India, sweatbox humidity in the rainforests of East Asia, and a chilly night in John Wayne’s film-set.
Simon eats grilled squirrel, caterpillars, fish head, grilled goat, sand bread, and fish eyes. He meets a desert tribesman called Ali the Lion, and fishermen who use otters to increase their catch. He’s battered by a masked female wrestler in Mexico, and bruised while playing the national sport of Kabaddi in Bangladesh.
While following the Tropic of Cancer, Simon uncovers the suffering of Haitian refugees in the tropical islands of the Bahamas, has a close encounter with an alien invading paradise, enters western Burma on a dangerous, covert mission to visit the Chin people, meets a Prince saving a rare Wild Ass, investigates violence in Gandhi’s home-town, sees the future of motoring, hunts for octopus in the Atlantic, and practises some wheel-spinning stunts in a Porsche 911.
He witnesses the birth of rare baby turtles, evades the Moroccan secret police, bathes an elephant, travels through the world’s largest minefield, has a flutter in a casino at the heart of the notorious Golden Triangle, learns about an eccentric scheme to pump water from under the deserts of North Africa, meets a tiny child labourer working a full shift in a glass factory for the equivalent of 30p, snorkels in the Red Sea, witnesses the reality of climate change as villagers lose their homes to swollen rivers, and takes a swim at the most beautiful desert oasis on the planet.
TROPICAL FACTS AND STATS:
- this ‘adventure journalism’ series is the last of a trilogy five years in the making.
- the Tropic of Cancer marks the northern border of the Tropics region, because it’s the most northerly point at which the sun can appear to be overhead.
- half the surface of the planet is in the Tropics, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, a band of life 3,222 miles wide.
- almost two thirds of the world’s population lives in the Tropics, which is home to more than 120 countries.
- the most biodiverse region of the planet, the Tropics is home to more than two thirds of our plants, animals and insects.
- but the Tropics are also home to conflict and endless suffering. Almost all (38) of the world’s 45 poorest countries are in the Tropics, plus more than two thirds of the most corrupt countries in the world.
- the Tropics are mercilessly exposed to the furnace at the heart of our solar system, and the region receives a higher dose of the Sun’s energy than the rest of the planet. It is simultaneously the attraction of the Tropics to outsiders, and the cause of much of the human suffering in the region, largely due to colonialism, corruption and the climate.
- the tropical conditions of the Tropics have expanded towards the poles by more than 170 miles due to global climate change. Scientists expected this, but only under an “extreme” climate change scenario, and only by 2100.
- over a 41,000 year period the Tropic of Cancer crawls around between roughly 22.5 and 24.5 degrees. Because the Tropic moves by tiny amounts the length of the line also varies. But it is approximately 36,749 km (22,835 miles) long.
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