Race Across the World – BBC2

(Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert/Andrew Hayes-)

Pairs of travellers set off from Greenwich to Singapore without getting on a plane or using mobile phones or credit cards

Long-haul travel the hard way – no flights, no phone, no plastic

Few would say no to a trip to Singapore. But for the contestants in this travel challenge series, getting there requires a lot more than sitting on a plane for 12 hours.

They must complete the 12,000-mile journey without boarding a single flight, and without the benefit of smartphones and credit cards.

For the first pair of travellers to reach Singapore, which will take an estimated 50 days, there’s a prize of £20,000, but it will be hard-won.

On the initial leg of the journey from London to Greece, there are tears and frayed tempers as things don’t go according to plan, but also kindness from strangers – and risk-taking strategies paying off.

TV Times rating: ****

Friends Sue and Clare

Friends Sue and Clare (Image credit: BBC/Studio Lambert/Andrew Hayes-)

Among those taking part are Sue Last, 57, and Clare King, 58, who’ve been best friends for over 45 years. Here, they tell us more about their adventure of a lifetime...

What was the biggest challenge for you both?

Sue: Not having a phone and a credit card because to travel without being able to book a coach or a train online and pay with your card was very difficult, especially in Europe.

Did you ever fall out?

Clare: We’ve been best friends since we were 11 so we know each other really well and supported each other even if we made mistakes.

Was there ever a situation where you felt unsafe?

Sue: There was a scary moment at a border when our coach pulled in and this gang of men came running towards us shouting and waving their arms in the air. It turned out they were touting for business – to carry people’s bags across the border – but it was frightening until we found out what was going on.

How do you feel now you’re back?

Sue: It was the most incredible experience I’ve ever had in my life and I would do it again at the drop of a hat. The countries we saw and the people we met were just amazing. The only difference I would make is not to be in a race because there were places I would have liked to have spent more time exploring.

Clare: I almost want to go on another journey now! I could even travel on my own again at 58. It’s given me a new lease of life.

Mandy Cooper
TV Times Highlights Editor

As TV Times Highlights Editor I get to hear about all the latest TV shows coming soon. Here at TVT HQ we are in the privileged position of selecting the best programmes from across all the channels and streaming platforms. Our mission is to make it easier for our readers to decide what to watch - and give them lots of choice of genres - all the latest shows, plus some nostalgic choices we call hidden gems, too. My career began with a postgraduate degree in periodical journalism (ahem, yes old school!) in 1991 and I’ve worked in TV media since 2000.