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Excess Baggage Podcast Profile

Excess Baggage Podcast

English, Travel/Tourism, 1 seasons, 85 episodes, 1 day 15 hours 36 minutes
Travellers' Tales from home and around the world: their destinations, experiences and issues arising from their journeys are discussed with Sandi Toksvig or John McCarthy from 1000 to 1030 am on Saturdays.
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The point and the pleasure of travel

In the last Excess Baggage, John McCarthy talks to three inveterate travellers: Sara Wheeler, who has written on Africa and the Antarctic, explorer Benedict Allen who has travelled in Siberia and New Guinea and documentary maker Simon Reeve who has just returned from the Indian Ocean. He asks them why they are driven to explore the world and what is the point of travel. Producer: Harry Parker.
28/04/201228 minutes 2 seconds
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Africa - Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan

John McCarthy discusses travel to the African countries of Rwanda, Uganda and to the world's newest country, South Sudan. With his guests, doctor Rob Summerhayes, paramedic Franz Opitz and forensic accountant Benedict Jenks - John finds out what attracts people to visiting a country with troubles past or present. All the guests are sensitive to the highly political issues that are involved in visiting such countries and have wide experience of travel to some of the world's hotspots. All have also spent considerable time in Central Africa developing considerable insight into those countries. Producer: Harry Parker.
21/04/201228 minutes 6 seconds
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Lake Titicaca - Manchester, Bolivia - Malaysia

John McCarthy meets the former debutante Meriel Larken who fell in love with Peru and rescued and restored a Victorian steam ship on Lake Titicaca. He is also joined by Chris Smith and Liz Peel who went by canoe through the Bolivian jungle in search of the village of Manchester; and Kung Fu expert Nick Hurst explains why he set off to Malaysia and China to spend time with his grandmaster Sugong. Producer: Margaret Collins.
14/04/201227 minutes 52 seconds
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Wildlife travel

John McCarthy explores wildlife travel with naturalist and tv presenter, Mark Carwardine, who has spent thirty years travelling around the world to observe and aid conservation of a huge range of species including whales, tigers, gorillas and sea birds. He is also joined by wildlife travel writer, James Parry, who has made a unique tour of the world's top twenty deserts chosen for their outstanding wildlife and landscape interest - and award-winning wildlife photographer, Andy Rouse, discusses his recent trips to Rwanda in relation to mountain gorillas, and to India to study tigers. Producer: Margaret Collins.
07/04/201227 minutes 58 seconds
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Sandi Toksvig goes to Reykjavik to look at aspects of tourism in Iceland and discovers that the volcanic eruptions and the financial crash there may not have been so bad for the country. As well as reminding the world of its geological attractions the crises have helped Iceland look at its cultural roots like the sagas and....knitting. Producer: Harry Parker.
31/03/201228 minutes 5 seconds
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Family Travel

John McCarthy takes a look at family travel with novelist Gill Lewis, who has taken her daughters spotting wildlife both abroad and in Scotland and Cornwall and Ben Hatch who toured Britain with his young children. And holiday lettings agent Wendy Shand explains how self-catering holidays can be more child friendly. Producer: Harry Parker.
24/03/201228 minutes 2 seconds
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Black Prince - Wine trade in Medieval Europe - Lourdes

John McCarthy meets a writer who followed in the 14th century footsteps of the Black Prince through SW France; an historian who has followed a medieval wine trail through Gascony and a novelist who was seduced by the lure of Lourdes and the Pyrenees. Producer: Harry Parker.
17/03/201227 minutes 59 seconds
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Russia - Crimea - Ukraine

Sandi Toksvig discusses the 'Wild East' - Russia - with the BBC's former Moscow correspondent, Martin Sixsmith. Actor Michael Simkins relates his adventures on a rail journey from London to Kiev and on to Crimea to visit the former site of the Charge of the Light Brigade at the Battle of Balaklava in 1854 - and author and linguist Anna Shevchenko explains why she believes Ukraine, where she was born, is a 'hidden' country with much to offer the traveller. Producer: Harry Parker.
10/03/201227 minutes 55 seconds
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Medics abroad; The Oscars

Sandi Toksvig hears about medical work abroad from Dr Marie Charles who runs an organisation which places volunteer doctors and nurses in developing countries to impart their skills to local medical workers. She tells of her experiences travelling the world in the course of her work. And dentist Ian Wilson relates how he used his skills to start an oral health programme in Tanzania. Sandi also meets writer and comedian Liz Carr who explains how she went to join the red carpet crowds in Hollywood for the Oscars. Producer: Harry Parker.
03/03/201227 minutes 59 seconds
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Ashoka's India; Undesirable Places

Sandi Toksvig hears about a lost Emperor of India: Ashoka ruled the subcontinent about 2,200 years ago and left many pillars and rocks carved with his edicts. Historian Charles Allen went in search of the legacy of this once great Emperor a journey which took him to some of the remoter parts of the country. Writer Tim Moore and webmistress Cathy Shaw both have an interest in visiting some of the least attractive sounding places in Britain and have made many trips to find out if the reputations of towns like Middlesbrough and Scunthorpe for being undesirable destinations are justified. Producer: Harry Parker.
25/02/201227 minutes 54 seconds
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John McCarthy discusses the diverse attractions of Israel as a destination. It's a land whose tumultuous existence often overshadows a rich, cultural life. The very word 'Israel' is often synonymous with conflict and religious tension, but John looks beyond the political debate to find what it has to offer the ordinary traveller. His guests are a travel writer, Samantha Wilson, a keen hiker, Alma Smith and a chef, Adi Gilo who spent many summers living and working on a kibbutz. Producer: Margaret Collins.
18/02/201228 minutes 2 seconds
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Stone - Sacred sites - Crazy River

John McCarthy talks to artist Emily Young about her travels to find stone for her sculpture, to travel writer Martin Symington about his venture in search of Britain's sacred places both ancient and modern and to Richard Grant about his exploration by inflatable raft of the Malagarasi River in East Africa. Together they consider the extent to which destinations can be spiritual. Producer: Harry Parker.
11/02/201227 minutes 52 seconds
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John McCarthy visits 'The Heart of the Great Alone' an exhibition of polar photography at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace and, before an audience, introduces a discussion of Antarctica with the explorer David Hempleman-Adams and his daughter Amelia who has just returned from there. Joining them are the author Meredith Hooper and Frozen Planet cameraman Doug Allan. Producer: Harry Parker.
04/02/201228 minutes 9 seconds
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Overland To Mongolia - Wild West - The Calgary Stampede

John McCarthy discusses the 'Wild West' with former documentary film-maker Tim Slessor who has just written a book called 'More than Cowboys'. He is also joined by travel writer, Kieran Meeke, who, as a keen horse-rider, also loves the cowboy culture and has a passion for the Calgary Stampede, in Alberta, Canada, currently marking its centenary. John is also joined by Nick Hewer (Lord Sugar's right-hand man on BBC TV's 'The Apprentice') who recounts his solo journey driving from London to Ulan Bator in Mongolia in an old Renault 4L to raise money for charity. Producer: Margaret Collins.
28/01/201228 minutes 10 seconds
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The Occupied territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank

John McCarthy looks at the delights and difficulties of visiting the occupied territories of East Jerusalem and the West Bank with writer Sarah Irving who has published the first new guide to Palestine for many years, circus performer China Fish who recently returned from entertaining children there and traveller Gail Simmons who sampled the alternatives to the mass tourism. Producer: Harry Parker.
21/01/201228 minutes 2 seconds
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Swimming - Land Art - Sicily

John McCarthy discusses Art and Travel with leading art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon explaining his abiding passion for the raw art of Sicily which has been drawing him back to the island for over twenty years. He talks about his latest BBC 2 series on Sicily called 'Sicily Unpacked' which, in the company of chef Giorgio Locatelli, reveals the many stunning works of art round every corner as well as the fresh ingredients which make for a delicious and unique cuisine. Part of the appeal, he says, is that the Art is so accessible, not locked up in museums and galleries but available to all at virtually every street corner. The art, he feels, has not become homogenised as in so many other places. Art academic Dr. Amy Dempsey discusses her love of Outdoor Art which led to her book called 'Destination Art' cataloguing two hundred of the most modern and contemporary art sites around the world, mostly in Europe and the USA. Many of the works are unshowy and quite difficult to find, all part of
14/01/201227 minutes 48 seconds
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Hitchhiking veteran - Butterflies - Burma

John McCarthy meets three intrepid women travellers who cross the generations as well as the continents. Naomi Molten is a veteran of many adventures through south-east Asia, India and Afghanistan as well as Europe and the Far East, travelling mostly alone during the 1950s. Isobel Talks is a young student who has just returned from Ecuador where she lived and worked in different local communities as well as tracking down the rare butterfly that was named after her. She also visited Bolivia and the Galapagos Islands. Felicity Goodall is a writer who has retraced the steps taken by evacuees escaping the Japanese Army in 1942. She recounts the horrific experiences of half a million people who fled for their lives on the remarkable trek from Burma to India. Felicity's own father served in the British army then and had a lucky escape when his wristwatch deflected a Japanese bullet. Producer: Margaret Collins.
07/01/201228 minutes
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John McCarthy looks at the changing nature of the traditional attractions of England with historian John Julius Norwich, curator Lucy Worsley and journalist Martin Wainwright. Together they discuss the appeal of English places from Kensington Palace to Watford Gap and why we look for the past in palaces and cottages. Producer: Harry Parker.
31/12/201127 minutes 59 seconds
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Christmas Quiz

Peter Curran presents an Excess Baggage special quiz for Christmas from the Radio Theatre with Sandi Toksvig, John McCarthy and their special guests Caroline Quentin and Arthur Smith answering questions on the world of travel and travelling the world. Producer: Harry Parker.
25/12/201128 minutes 8 seconds
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Travel Biography from The Times Cheltenham Literature Festival

John McCarthy discusses travel biography at October's Cheltenham Literature Festival with eminent writers in the field; Sir Christopher Ondaatje, Sara Wheeler and Alexander Maitland. Producer: Harry Parker.
24/12/201127 minutes 49 seconds
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Animal welfare - Plant hunting

John McCarthy meets Phillip Cribb, a botanist and orchid specialist at Kew Gardens who's spent thirty years plant hunting in Western China. Along with Christopher Grey-Wilson, he's just produced a Guide to the Flowers of Western China and he regularly leads tours there. He explains the process of gathering the flowers and how attitudes towards their native flora are changing. John also discusses animal welfare abroad and meets two women who have decided to devote their life to helping domestic animals around the world. Barbara Webb spent ten years trekking in Nepal before the plight of stray dogs there inspired her to set up HART, the Himalayan Animal Rescue Trust. Caroline Yates is CEO of the Mayhew, an animal home in the UK supporting projects in Moscow, northern Peru, India and Afghanistan. Now she regularly treks in East Africa, Morocco and South America with animal welfare in mind. Producer: Margaret Collins.
17/12/201127 minutes 56 seconds
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Historic walks - Fast and slow trains

John McCarthy takes a look at historic walks in the company of archaeologist Bill Bevan who selects Britain's top prehistoric sites best approached by foot and walks webmaster David Stewart who tells how you can follow ancient pathways all over the country from packhorse routes to corpse roads. John also compares fast and slow trains with journalist Tom Chesshyre maintaining that high speed railways have opened up Europe for passengers and travel editor Michael Kerr favouring a more leisurely approach to rail journeys. Producer: Harry Parker.
10/12/201128 minutes 8 seconds
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Gambian elections - Nepal - Himalayan rafting

John McCarthy meets scriptwriter Edward Canfor-Dumas who has just returned from Gambia where he was acting as a Commonwealth observer in the recent Presidential elections. He describes how even with a scrupulously correct voting process in the remote bush the outcome can still be influenced. John also talks to journalist Julia Horton who went trekking in Nepal on the trail of the Maoist guerillas and Leigh Banks for whom the Himalayas meant white water rafting. Producer: Harry Parker.
03/12/201128 minutes
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Storytelling in Japan and Morocco - Coastal Stations

John McCarthy explores storytelling in Japan with charity founder Nicola Grove who visited the country recently to learn about the heritage of folk tales there and in particular the depiction and involvement of those with learning difficulties. Journalist Richard Hamilton compares this with his own experience of the tellers of tales in the market place of Marrakesh and how this is surviving in modern times. John also meets Geoff Saunders who made a series of journeys all round the British Isles to the coastal weather stations featured in the early morning shipping forecast. Producer: Harry Parker.
26/11/201128 minutes 6 seconds
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Mitteleuropa - Escape from Hong Kong - A272

John McCarthy looks at Eastern Europe with broadcaster Dennis Marks who visited many of the places described by the author Joseph Roth who wrote between the wars about the declining years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and often depicted Jewish life. Dennis journeyed around this 'Mitteleuropa' in search of a world which has all but disappeared since the Holocaust and the years of the Iron Curtain. Journalist Tim Luard also makes a journey into the past. He traces the escape from Hong Kong in 1942 of a one-legged Chinese admiral with a party of British military personnel. Tim and his wife followed their path through what was once bandit country but is now part of bustling modern China. John also talks to Rita Boogaart, one half of a Dutch couple whose obsession with the A272 has led them to publish a guide to the delights to be found along its route through Sussex and Hampshire. Producer: Harry Parker.
19/11/201128 minutes 12 seconds
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Panama - North Korea

John McCarthy meets foreign correspondent Nicholas Wood who has turned his hand to running tours of some of the world's politically sensitive spots. They are joined by playwright Sam Holcroft and economist and playwright Alastair Muriel who recently accompanied Nicholas on a trip to North Korea to find out if they could get any closer to this controversial country. John also looks at Panama with Verol Gordon who has moved there with his family and explains the attractions of a new life in a fast developing land. Producer: Harry Parker.
05/11/201128 minutes 2 seconds
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Transoceanic Rowing - Tango

John McCarthy hears about the transoceanic rowing experiences of Roz Savage who has just completed a crossing from Australia to Mauritius making her the first woman to row solo across the Indian, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. John also goes cheek to cheek with the tango as he finds out why the dance draws people to its roots in Argentina. He talks to travel writer Kapka Kassabova about its history and hold over her, Sarah Kennedy who went on a tango holiday and Sally Blake who has written a tango guide to Buenos Aires. Producer: Harry Parker.
29/10/201127 minutes 59 seconds
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Congo - Rodrigues

John McCarthy hears about Congo in the early days of independence in the 1960s from Veronica Cecil who had to flee from the civil war with her young family and about the country after it had become Zaire a decade later from Ian Mathie who lived amongst the forest dwelling people. John also meets Kathy O'Keefe who visits the remote Indian Ocean isles of Rodrigues to help with their teacher training. Producer: Harry Parker.
22/10/201127 minutes 58 seconds
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Natural Navigation - Snow Shoeing - Borneo Sunbear - Bulgaria

John McCarthy looks at natural navigation with Alison Steadman who has been learning from the adventurer Tristan Gooley how to find and follow directions using only the signs provided by the weather and the landscape. Leading guide Kevin Albin talks about snow shoeing in the Pyrenees and sun bears in Borneo and British Indian novelist Rana Dasgupta explains why he is fascinated by Bulgaria and post-colonial India. Producer: Harry Parker.
15/10/201128 minutes 5 seconds
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Travel Biography

John McCarthy discusses travel biography at the Cheltenham Literature Festival with eminent writers in the field; Sir Christopher Ondaatje, Sara Wheeler and Alexander Maitland. Producer: Harry Parker.
08/10/201128 minutes 3 seconds
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John McCarthy gets a flavour of rural Italy and its food in conversation with writer Tracey Lawson who investigated the surprising longevity of an Italian village's residents by going to live there and learning all about their diet; their great life expectancy is due in no small part to simple food freshly prepared and she shares some of the secrets with John. They are joined by author Julia Blackburn whose own experiences of living in an Italian village led her to collect the memories and stories of the older inhabitants. And the writer and columnist Vitali Vitaliev tells why, originally from the Ukraine, he loves Italy so much and how he ate a great many good Italian meals in the apparently futile search for a bad one. Producer : Harry Parker.
01/10/201128 minutes 6 seconds
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Burma - Egypt - World's longest climb

John McCarthy asks the historian Thant Myint-U, who visits Burma regularly, about the recent political developments there and its role in south east Asia. Thant reflects on the how the country's relationship with tourism might also change. The author and traveller Anthony Sattin tells John how the history of Egypt has attracted traders and tourists and how the change of government there too has affected tourism. John also finds out from Pauline Sanderson about her part in the world's longest climb from the Dead Sea to Everest which involved an eight thousand kilometre cycle ride through countries like Iran and Pakistan topped of with an ascent of the highest mountain. Producer: Harry Parker.
24/09/201128 minutes
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Rowing to the North Pole - Malta - Tidal islands

John McCarthy talks to adventurer Jock Wishart about his recent expedition rowing to the North Pole. He and his team were the first to achieve this feat made possible this year by global warming melting the ice. They were under threat from polar bears and crushing ice floes and had to return before the sea froze over again. John also meets novelist Jo Baker whose stay in Malta led to the discovery of her family's First World War connection with the island. And Peter Caton who has visited all of Britain's tidal islands tells John about the variety of history and landscape of these fascinating places isolated from the mainland at high tide. The best known are Lindisfarne and St Michael's Mount but there are many others from the Thames to the Highlands. Producer: Harry Parker.
17/09/201128 minutes 8 seconds
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Maine - Tour d'Afrique - Fallowell's travels

John McCarthy introduces businesswoman Alice Morrison who took time off from the recession to ride from Cairo to Cape Town on the Tour d'Afrique cycle race, braving bandits and wildlife for a life changing experience. Best selling crime novelist John Connolly talks about his love of the US state of Maine despite not liking two of its great attractions, hunting and seafood. And writer Duncan Fallowell talks about his travels to Gozo, India and South Wales in search of people who have disappeared from view. Producer: Harry Parker.
10/09/201127 minutes 59 seconds
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Bus trip from Brighton to Eastbourne

Sandi Toksvig takes a bus trip along the south coast of England from Brighton to Eastbourne in the company of the listener who suggested it, Veronica Groocock. Together they discover the delights to be had on an ordinary scheduled bus route. These include Kipling's garden, a 1930s lido, the Greenwich meridian, a lamb called Hardy and the lighthouse at Beachy Head. Producer: Harry Parker.
03/09/201128 minutes
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Istanbul - Part 2

Sandi Toksvig in the second of two programmes continues her exploration the ancient and modern city of Istanbul which straddles the border between Europe and Asia. She looks at the its richness both in history and the fusion of eastern and western cultures in the arts and cuisine. Producer: Harry Parker.
27/08/201127 minutes 53 seconds
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Istanbul - Part 1

Sandi Toksvig in the first of two programmes begins to explore the ancient and modern city of Istanbul which straddles the border between Europe and Asia. She gets an overview of the city from the tops of two very different towers, hears about the impact of tourism and economic growth on the city and rediscovers a forgotten opera singer. Producer: Harry Parker.
20/08/201128 minutes 4 seconds
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Phoenician ship voyage - The British seaside

Sonia Deol hears about the re-enactment of a historical voyage round Africa from marine explorer Philip Beale. He built a replica of an ancient sailing boat to recreate the Phoenician circumnavigation of Africa. He and his crews sailed clockwise round the continent and on the two year journey risked whale sharks, modern shipping and pirates. Even after the journey the problems weren't over as Philip had to rescue the boat from the recent troubles in Syria. Sonia also looks at the British seaside with journalist Brian Viner and author Jane Struthers. Both were brought up in seaside towns and have continued to have a fascination for coastal resorts ever since. They discuss the history of the British beach holiday and the continuing appeal of summer by the sea. Producer: Harry Parker.
13/08/201128 minutes 4 seconds
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Independent countries - Kashmir

Sonia Deol looks at Kashmir with the author Rosie Thomas, who went there to learn about the production of cashmere shawls, and journalist Tim Hannigan who toured the region investigating the murder of the Victorian explorer George Hayward. They discuss the pleasures and dangers of travelling in the beautiful but troubled land. Sonia also meets Adam Strudwick and Rekha Sharma a couple who are visiting all the world's countries in the order they became independent. It's a lifetime's project but already they are visiting the South American countries which had revolutions in the nineteenth century. Producer: Harry Parker.
06/08/201128 minutes 13 seconds
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Holy places in Britain, Antarctica

Sandi is joined by Nick Mayhew Smith who has undertaken a pilgrimage to every "holy place" in England, Scotland and Wales. Nick has compiled a travel guide which not only details where sacred treasures can be found, but also tells you what to expect and ranks them in terms of holiness. Sandi also talks to two Antarctic explorers: Angie Butler loves Antarctica so much she set about recovering the ashes of a forgotten Edwardian Polar explorer and Katie Walter was only seventeen when she made it to base camp at the South Pole, the youngest person ever to walk there. Producer: Laura Northedge.
30/07/201128 minutes 3 seconds
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Hawaii - Buskers

Sandi Toksvig is joined by country singer Hank Wangford to hear about life on the ranch with paniolo cowboys in Hawaii. There is music from cellist Li Lu who is accompanied by artist Johan Andersson, her rival in a televised international busking competition. And Sandi talks to seasoned busker Kevin Barry White about life on road with just an accordion for company. Producer: Laura Northedge.
23/07/201128 minutes 17 seconds
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South Africa - InterRail

Sandi Toksvig explores Cape Town in the company of two very different experts. Lindsay Johns has family connections to the city and visits regularly. Bryan Tully is a forensic psychologist and has recently led a 'forensic tour' to South Africa. While mortuaries, hospitals and prisons feature on the tour, Bryan talks especially about his impressions of Cape Town. Sandi also talks to journalist Miranda Sawyer who has retraced both her footsteps and the train tracks of her youthful InterRailing adventures around Europe. Producer Harry Parker, Chris Wilson Presenter Sandi Toksvig.
16/07/201128 minutes 4 seconds
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Somali Pirates - Montserrat - Languages

Sandi Toksvig meets journalist Colin Freeman who was kidnapped by pirates in Somalia whilst investigating them. He tells Sandi about how the total breakdown of law and order has led to piracy on the high seas and poverty on the land. David Edwards had barely arrived in Montserrat in 1995 when the volcanic eruptions took place that were to cover most of the island in ash. He went back 16 years later to see how life has changed for both visitors and residents. Language teacher Elisabeth Smith tells Sandi why the British are so bad at speaking foreign languages when travelling - and what they can do about it. Producer: Harry Parker.
09/07/201128 minutes 2 seconds
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Rites of Passage - Mexico

Sandi Toksvig looks at rites of passage with Anders Ryman who spent seven years photographing the ceremonies associated with key events in human life; birth, coming of age, marriage and death from Micronesia to Madagascar and Norway to Nepal. They are joined by author Sarah Murray who has travelled the world looking at rituals associated with death and Lucy Neville whose memoir of her time in Mexico includes her experiences of the Day of the Dead festival and the Saint of Death religious cult. Producer: Harry Parker.
02/07/201128 minutes 3 seconds
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Sandi Toksvig looks at the simplicity and versatility of the bicycle as a travel machine with three very different cyclists. Susie Wheeldon rode 22,000 kilometres around the world, crossing deserts from Tunisia to Arizona, as she and her companions were researching solar energy. Robert Penn leads cycling weekends in the hills of the Brecon Beacons where the ups are as satisfying as the downs. And Matt Carroll recommends day trips in some of England's most beautiful countryside. Together they discuss the feeling of freedom realised in today's world by a device which hasn't changed its basic design for over 130 years. Producer: Harry Parker.
25/06/201128 minutes 12 seconds
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Catalonia - Cornish Coast

Sandi Toksvig meets novelist Richard Gwyn and translator Peter Bush to discuss Catalonia and its relationship with Spain. She hears how life is changing there, not just in the big city of Barcelona but in the more rural areas near the Pyrenees. Sandi also talks about the Cornish coast with the historian and author Philip Marsden who has lived in the Falmouth area for many years and reflects on the role of the sea in the lives of the residents and visitors from the days of sail to the present. Producer: Harry Parker.
18/06/201128 minutes
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Greek islands - Ireland by Kayak

John McCarthy talks to travel journalist Harry Bucknall about his journey round the Greek islands which vary from the crowded to the deserted and novelist Meaghan Delahunt reveals her love of Naxos an island less frequented by tourists. They discuss the appeal of the islands to the history lover and the holidaymaker. John also meets the writer Jasper Winn who paddled his way around Ireland in a kayak. The journey led him to see his home island from a new perspective with its wild coastline, wildlife - and wild winds which on one occasion stranded him on an uninhabited island. Producer: Harry Parker.
04/06/201128 minutes 3 seconds
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Afghanistan, Libya, Chechnya

John McCarthy talks to three writers who have reported as freelancers from conflict zones. Lucy Morgan Edwards worked in Afghanistan both during and after the Taliban regime as an aid worker, journalist and election observer. Despite the risks she grew to love the country and its people. Benjamin Hall's thirst for front line journalism took him to Misrata in Libya at the height of Gaddafi's attacks on the rebel city and Oliver Bullough wrote from Chechnya as it struggled against Russian domination. They tell John about the practical difficulties and excitement of travelling in such dangerous places without backup. Producer: Harry Parker.
28/05/201128 minutes 1 second
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Australia - Art galleries in Britain & Ireland - Iceland

John McCarthy meets poet and author Lavinia Greenlaw who tells him about the designer William Morris's journeys to Iceland in the 1870s and how what he saw informed his radical socialism. She also compares his experiences with her own trip there in the wake of the financial crash. Novelist Niall Griffiths emigrated to Australia as a child with his family but they returned to Britain after a few years. He tells John about rediscovering his childhood haunts thirty years later and how modern Australia lived up to his memories. John also talks to art historian Christopher Lloyd who reveals that Britain's art galleries are full of overlooked masterpieces and that a trip to any part of Britain can be a journey of aesthetic discovery. Producer: Harry Parker.
21/05/201128 minutes 8 seconds
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Nagaland - Kosovo - Skiing in Iran

John McCarthy hears from architectural journalist Jonathan Glancey about the little visited state of Nagaland in north east India. Although concerned with buildings in his profession, Jonathan has returned several times to a land that has little of the built environment but much stunning mountain scenery - and the wildness of this frontier region gives it the air of a lost kingdom. When Elizabeth Gowing went to Kosovo to live she found that one way to getting know this country of mixed cultures in the years after its civil war was through beekeeping. John talks to her about how she fell in love with a nation that is finding its feet in modern Europe whilst still holding on to the past - and honey. John also meets Henry Iddon a British speed skier who grabbed the chance recently to go skiing in Iran where his experiences included the descent of a volcano. Producer: Harry Parker.
14/05/201128 minutes 10 seconds
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Liberia - Evacuation - Algeria

John McCarthy looks at Liberia and Sierra Leone with journalist and author Tim Butcher who retraced a journey without maps made by Graham Greene in 1935. The dangers of heat and disease are still there but on his 350 mile walk through the jungle Tim also encountered a region riddled with post-conflict tensions and superstitions. Photographer Marion Bull tells John about her travels usually made on her own to physically challenging places - in particular to the deserts of Algeria, where she is fascinated by rock paintings but is also drawn to the harsh and sometimes risky life among the Tuareg people. And when life in a country becomes too risky for visitors, they may well call on their insurance company to repatriate them. John meets specialist Ted Jones who organises the evacuation of clients from political, medical or natural crises such as recent events in Libya, Egypt or Japan after the tsunami. Producer: Harry Parker.
07/05/201128 minutes 3 seconds
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John McCarthy talks to journalist AA Gill about his travel columns which have taken him from earthquake zones to retirement homes and polar regions to Civil War sites. He also meets novelist Wilbur Smith who reflects on piracy off the east coast of Africa and hears from author Isabel Losada how her quest for self knowledge induced her to take hallucinogenic drugs in the Peruvian Amazon. John asks them whether they write to travel or travel to write.
30/04/201127 minutes 58 seconds
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Northern Ireland

John McCarthy visits Northern Ireland where he stays in two contrasting hotels and hears about different approaches to tourism after the troubles. In Belfast he talks to the owner, the concierge and a famous guest of the much bombed Europa Hotel, takes a taxi tour of the opposing sections of the city and looks forward to developments in the arts attracting visitors. In South Armagh, John visits the first new hotel for 100 years in Crossmaglen, a notorious village during the conflict, hears a traditional music session or ceoltas and gets a panoramic view from a local beauty spot. Producer: Harry Parker.
23/04/201127 minutes 58 seconds
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Welsh wilderness - Harp around the World - Moonlight

John McCarthy explores the pleasure of moonlight, talks to a musician who travelled the world with her harp and meets someone who spent 5 years in the solitude of a remote Welsh cottage without electricity or running water. Producer Chris Wilson.
16/04/201127 minutes 25 seconds
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Walking in Ireland and Spain - Philippines

John McCarthy hears from a bestselling thriller writer about his travels around The Philippines, finds out about a series of new walks in Ireland and talks to someone seeking inspiration from a pilgrimage across Spain. Producer: Chris Wilson.
09/04/201127 minutes 55 seconds
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Nigeria - Newfoundland, Labrador and Montreal, Canada

Sandi Toksvig finds out about Nigeria with actor and director Femi Elufowoju Jr and novelist Christie Watson, and gets under the skin of Montreal and Newfoundland with writer Kathleen Winter. Producer: Chris Wilson.
02/04/201127 minutes 52 seconds
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Morecambe Bay - India

Sandi Toksvig explores Morecambe Bay and the area round about and talks to a travel journalist about her love of India and places to visit near Sheffield. Producer: Chris Wilson.
26/03/201127 minutes 56 seconds
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Australia - Georgia - St Pancras Station, London

Sandi Toksvig finds out about Georgia on the Black Sea with novelist Meg Clothier, hears about a motorbike trip around Australia's Highway 1 with biker and travel writer Geoff Hill and examines St Pancras Station in London and the newly refurbished St Pancras Hotel with architectural expert Simon Bradley. Producer: Chris Wilson.
19/03/201128 minutes 14 seconds
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Turkey - Harlem

Sandi Toksvig finds out about modern day Harlem in New York and looks at travel in Turkey. She talks to New Yorker Reggie Nadelson about one of the city's most exciting neighbourhoods and to historian Professor Norman Stone and independent traveller Sally Mustoe about travelling around Turkey. Producer Chris Wilson.
12/03/201127 minutes 30 seconds
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Antarctic and Shackleton centenary expedition to the South Pole - In the footsteps of my Ottoman uncle

Sandi Toksvig explores two very different sides of the Antarctic. One from an expedition cruise ship and the other following the 2008/9 expedition following in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton's failed bid for the South Pole on the 1907/9 Nimrod Expedition. Sandi also meets Palestinian writer Raja Shehadeh and talks about another journey in someone's footsteps- in this case Raja's great uncle, who fled the Ottoman authorities in Palestine during the First World War and lived on the run for 3 years in and around the Rift Valley. Raja walks around many of the places that his relative lived whilst in hiding. Producer Chris Wilson.
05/03/201128 minutes 1 second
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Syria - The Pennines

John McCarthy explores some ancient monuments and places of interest across Syria. He also hears about the Turkish baths- or Hammams- of Damascus and Aleppo. And travel along the backbone of England - the Pennines. Producer Chris Wilson.
26/02/201127 minutes 58 seconds
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Woods and trees - Iceland and the Scottish Islands

John McCarthy explores British Woodland and meets a fan of travelling in cold landscapes. He hears about ancient woods across the country and about Iceland and the Scottish islands. And he examines myths associated with trees and woods in Anglo-Saxon England and some relating to the Icelandic sagas. Producer Chris Wilson.
19/02/201127 minutes 30 seconds
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Colin Thubron Tibet

John McCarthy talks to travel writer Colin Thubron about hiking up a sacred mountain in Tibet and to members of an expedition that explored communities around the Atlantic Ocean's coast, from Africa to the United States. Producer Chris Wilson.
12/02/201127 minutes 53 seconds
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Romania, Transylvania - Rowing across the Indian Ocean

John McCarthy explores Romania with William Blacker who lived there for some years and Lucy Mallows who wrote the first travel guide to Transylvania. He also meets Sarah Outen, who rowed 4,000 miles single handed across the Indian Ocean. Producer: Chris Wilson.
05/02/201128 minutes 6 seconds
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Russian Road - Hitler Tours

John McCarthy explores the Vladimirka Highway in Russia and talks to the writer who travelled along it from Moscow to Siberia. John also talks to two historians about visiting places associated with war - in particular the Second World War in Germany. Producer: Chris Wilson.
29/01/201127 minutes 38 seconds
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South America 'Wild coast' - Volunteering abroad

John McCarthy explores the wild coasts of Suriname, French Guiana and Guyana in South America and examines the pleasures and pitfalls of travelling and volunteering abroad. Producer: Chris Wilson.
22/01/201127 minutes 21 seconds
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Pit villages - Overland with children across Africa

John McCarthy explores the Great Northern Coalfield in North East England with writer Peter Crookston and meets the young family who travelled 4,000 miles across Africa in 2 months. Producer: Chris Wilson.
15/01/201126 minutes 26 seconds
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Lebanon - Paris/Normandy

John McCarthy explores Paris with Independent Newspaper correspondent John Lichfield and The Lebanon with photographer Max Milligan and historian Philip Mansel. Producer Chris Wilson.
08/01/201128 minutes 7 seconds
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Walking in Madeira, Europe and Gambia

John McCarthy talks to the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell about his enthusiasm for hiking in Tasmania and Madeira, glaciologist Richard Sale about long distance walking routes in Europe and to photographer Jason Florio and his partner Helen Jones about travelling all around Gambia on foot. Producer: Harry Parker.
01/01/201128 minutes 3 seconds
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Travel Quiz

Peter Curran presents an Excess Baggage special quiz for Christmas from the Radio Theatre with John McCarthy and Sandi Toksvig and their special guests, explorer Benedict Allen and comedian Lucy Porter, answering questions on the world of travel and travelling the world. Producer: Harry Parker.
25/12/201028 minutes 4 seconds
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Science travelogue - Foreign Commonwealth Office

Anita Anand looks at the work of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office around the World with the Director of FCO Consular Services Julian Braithwaite. She also talks to Professor Jim Al- Khalili about his travels in the Middle East. producer. Chris Wilson.
18/12/201027 minutes 54 seconds
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Pilgrimages - Seeing the World My Way

Anita Anand explores pilgrim routes from Canterbury to Kerala and meets Tony Giles, the blind and severely deaf traveller, who has undertaken two solo trips around the world. Producer Chris Wilson.
11/12/201027 minutes 59 seconds
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Tribes, Hebrides, Visitor to Britain

John McCarthy looks at endangered peoples of the world with broadcaster and traveller Piers Gibbon who has stayed with South American tribes and studied their use of plants. This has lead him to taking part in their rituals involving poisonous frog toxins. Closer to home, hunter-gatherer tribes first inhabited the Hebrides 10,000 years ago but have left little for archaeologists to study. Professor Steven Mithen tells John how years of going there to excavate have brought him a deep appreciation of the islands and their present day people. What kind of appreciation do visitors have of the islands of Great Britain? John talks to Immaculate Mwaungulu from Tanzania about her impressions on her first visit to the UK - including an interesting insight into tapwater. Producer: Harry Parker.
04/12/201027 minutes 52 seconds
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Human Rights - Patagonia

John McCarthy meets the human rights advocate Bianca Jagger and asks her about a lifetime of travel from her home country of Nicaragua and student protests in the Paris of the sixties to her recent work in the state of Orissa in India protesting at the effects on the local tribes of aluminium processing there. John also talks to the Welsh actor Matthew Rhys about his trek on horseback across Patagonia. He joined a group of Welsh Patagonian riders recreating the original nineteenth century journey from the Atlantic to the Andes in search of fertile land to settle. Producer: Harry Parker.
27/11/201028 minutes 4 seconds
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Yemen - The Sun

John McCarthy looks at travelling to Yemen. Ginny Hill of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and travel writer Tim Mackintosh-Smith debate the delights and dangers of this ancient land; these days seen in the west as a source of terrorist activity but rich in Muslim and pre-Islamic culture. John also meets Richard Cohen who has travelled the world researching cults of the sun - from primeval solstice rituals to modern solar farms. Producer: Harry Parker.
19/11/201028 minutes 1 second
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Medics abroad and Bridges

John McCarthy meets ophthalmologist Lucy Mathen who runs an organisation performing cataract operations in north east India and Andrew Ready who leads a team transplanting kidneys in Trinidad and Ghana. He asks them about operating in less than ideal conditions and the impact their work has on the local communities. John also talks to architectural historian and TV presenter Dan Cruickshank about his fascination with bridges and those he has visited on his travels round the world. Producer: Harry Parker.
13/11/201027 minutes 44 seconds
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Syria - Sark

John McCarthy meets Dr Lavinia Byrne who leads tours to the ancient sites of Syria and tour operator Amelia Stewart who has started to offer trips there and talks to them about why the many layers of its past make it so rewarding for those fascinated by history. The Greeks and Romans, the early Christians, Islam and even the French have all left a mark on this multi-layered country that is beginning to attract more western tourists who now see it as a much less dangerous destination. And broadcaster Steve Blacknell tell John about his fondness for the smallest Channel Island of Sark and how its peace and quiet and lack of motor cars really mean you can get away from it all. Producer: Harry Parker.
30/10/201027 minutes 59 seconds
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Villages, Ordnance Survey and Finland

John McCarthy talks to journalist Clive Aslet about the nature of British villages, how they've changed and whether they have become places to visit rather than to live and work in. He tells John some of the stories associated with them and where to find the most attractive villages in the country. The academic Rachel Hewitt looks at the landscape as it has been mapped by the Ordnance Survey, the history of the organisation and it's impact on our appetite for rambling and hiking. Rural Finland offers peace and quiet which is just to the businessman John Murolo's taste. A regular visitor to the country he tells John why it is one of the last unspoiled places within easy reach of the UK and how he became such a fan of Finland. Producer: Harry Parker.
23/10/201028 minutes 1 second
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Kim's India, Apps and Tweets

John McCarthy talks to Doreen Tayler who explored northwest India visiting places featuring in Rudyard Kipling's novel Kim. The trail lead her to places that defied her expectations, from strange rituals on the Pakistan border to the summer capital of the Raj and she discovered the best places are not always the most visited. Modern computer technology is making its mark on the way we travel and John meets Rough Guides founder Mark Ellingham who is now producing guide 'apps' for mobile phones and Paul Smith a writer and blogger who journeyed to New Zealand relying entirely on offers made on the phone message service, Twitter. He asks them if the traditional guide book is dying. Producer: Harry Parker.
16/10/201027 minutes 40 seconds
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British Countryside and Tasmania

John McCarthy talks to the chair of The Royal Society for Wildlife Trusts, Michael Allen, about great writing on the British countryside and how the Trusts are encouraging people to get out of town and become involved with conservation pursuits. Journalist Patrick Barkham tells of his love of butterflies and how hunting all the native species leads him to some unexpectedly wild spots in Britain. Women's historian Susanna Hoe is a regular visitor to Tasmania and explores the island from the point of view of some of the significant women in its past, the places associated with them and the burgeoning tourist industry there.
09/10/201028 minutes 9 seconds
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Alaska - Zambia - Cycle path to Paris

The actress Imogen Stubbs talks to John McCarthy about why she is drawn to the Alaskan wilderness. Her experiences there with the vast distances, the extreme weather and the danger from encounters with bears contrast strongly with the relatively safe indoor life of theatre and television. John also meets Abraham Banda, who leads walking safaris in Zambia where you can encounter danger from many animals from lions to crocodiles, and learns why the role of the guide is getting more and more professional. And reporter and keen cyclist Stephen Mulvey tells John about a new bike trail from London to Paris which is mostly off-road and should prove very popular with the increasing numbers of cyclists making the journey for charity. Producer Harry Parker.
02/10/201027 minutes 54 seconds
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Hot-air balloons - Wildlife conservation

John McCarthy meets Dani Maimone who was Africa's only female hot-air balloon pilot flying over the Masai Mara giving her passengers a fantastic view of the wildlife below. She tells John of the pleasures and perils of balloon safaris. Kathy Wilden runs an organisation placing holiday volunteers with animal conservation scientific projects and Dr George McGavin is an entomologist and explorer who recently featured in the TV programme the Lost Land of the Tiger. They discuss with John the pros and cons of wildlife travel and tourism and its role in protecting animals. Producer: Harry Parker.
25/09/201027 minutes 57 seconds
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Family History - Paraguay

Sandi Toksvig meets two people who travelled to research their family histories. Television executive Martin Davidson knew his German grandfather must have fought in the Second World War but was shocked when he discovered him to have been a member of the SS. He went to Berlin, Prague and Prussia to try and understand what had driven him to become such an enthusiastic and unrepentant Nazi. Sports presenter Rob Curling's father was also a soldier but served with the Gurkhas during the emergency in Malaya in the fifties. He was drawn to travel to modern day Malaysia to discover more about that period of his parents' life and the country where he himself was born. Sandi also talks to theologian and 'freelance missionary' Margaret Hebblethwaite about why she started a hotel in southern Paraguay and how she came to write the first and only English guide book dedicated to this little known country. Producer: Harry Parker.
18/09/201027 minutes 56 seconds
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Places of worship/retreats - The paintings of Sir Winston Churchill

Sandi Toksvig uncovers some interesting English places of worship to visit, finds out why a retreat can be an excellent break and explores some of the locations painted by Sir Winston Churchill in the company of his granddaughter, Celia Sandys. Producer. Chris Wilson.
11/09/201028 minutes 3 seconds
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The Dark Tourist - Florida

Sandi Toksvig explores deep under the skin of the 'sunshine state' in the company of the former British Vice Consul in Orlando Hugh Hunter, with a Florida postcard from Americana presenter Matt Frei. And she travels further a field to Iran, Cambodia, North Korea and Beirut with comedian and writer Dom Joly as he seeks unusual and off the beaten track travel experiences. Producer: Chris Wilson.
04/09/201027 minutes 57 seconds