Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Travels Through Africa With Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman on Long Way Down BBC Series
Two men, two bikes and a support crew traveling 15,000 miles through 18 countries in 85 days….
Starring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman
Produced by David Alexanian and Russ Malkin
*Available For Rent Through Netflix and Blockbuster or For Purchase Online

Once in a while there comes along a television series which creates an immediate addiction (think True Blood, Flight of the Conchords, Top Chef). Take away vampires, Kiwis, and reality drama…and you’re not left with much quality programming that’s worth tuning into. Every now and then though, a gem comes along. This one I have to give credit to my Mom. Years ago she put me onto Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s Long Way Round BBC Series and now my boyfriend and I are completely addicted to their Long Way Down Series …cleverly named as they decide to motorcycle from the furthest point North in the U.K. to the tip of South Africa….get it? Long Way Down? ;) This is the second series which they have helped to create, the first Long Way Round was a documentary of their first journey from the U.K. around the world through Europe, Asia (primarily Mongolia and Kazakhstan), and North America back home. I blogged about the series a few years ago and highly recommend seeing both.

Not only are the two best friends a delight to travel with, but they bring a sense of joy to everything they do…as if biking through 100 degree plus heat in North Africa or getting caught for a full day in mud, having part of their crew denied an entrance visa to Libya, or being attacked by killer ants…all look like one big fun adventure~ They find everything a source of unending fun and rarely get short with each other. Along the way, their crew manages to bring awareness to UNICEF (at three different sites) and social causes…land mine victims, child soldiers, and children orphaned by AIDS. They also visit a
a school which witnessed a massacre of its youngest, several wildlife parks, and a genocide museum in Rwanda.

Ewan and Charley are almost always upbeat and they’re funny without being disrespectful. They have a genuine appreciation of and respect for the landscapes and cultures they’re passing through and I honestly couldn’t imagine better companions to have with along the way. And instead focusing on the clique images of war and AIDS., the series portrays Africa as a highly diverse continent which is home to deserts, rainforests, mountains and thousands of cultures and stories and to people whom are genuinely kind.

Another interesting thing to note is that in the world of reality tv which makes a mockery of interpersonal drama like lying, adultery, drunkenness, and nepotism (I admit it, I watch the Kardashians and get quite a bit of guilty pleasure from it…it’s like a train wreck you can’t quite take your eyes off of)…is that Long Way Down is good wholesome tv that doesn’t sensationalize or dramatize human relationships. The one fight that Ewan and Charlie get into is left untaped. Out of a rare sense of reality tv classiness and respect, the producers chose to let their fight be hashed out in private instead of served on a plate with a side of ranch to viewers. It’s just good honest traveling with a pair of pretty fun, cool guys. And I have to say, that if you weren’t a fan of Ewans before, you will be after seeing this. And what cool cats both he and Charley are!

You can rent Long Way Down through Netflix or Blockbuster or you can buy it online. Check out their website for more juicy tidbits surrounding the BBC Series: www.longwaydown.com