For Griff’s Canadian Adventure, the veteran Welsh comedian Griff Rhys Jones goes on an epic journey for Channel 4 across the vast commonwealth country of differing landscapes and cultures. As he explores Canada over six episodes, and takes in its cultures and traditions, he also tries to de-mystify and debunk Canadian cliches, plus he looks on in awe at its beautiful wilderness, enjoying some encounters with beavers and polar bears.
As well as packing his snowshoes, Griff will be heading across Canada by seaplane, train, cargo boat, dogsled and monster truck in search of the "true soul" of the country. In each episode, Griff sets himself a challenge that forms the spine of his journey. Typically, the challenges are quirky and reflect the spirit of the region of Canada he is visiting.
So here's everything you need to know about Griff’s Canadian Adventure on Channel 4 including an episode guide and interview with Griff himself...
Griff’s Canadian Adventure release date
Griff’s Canadian Adventure is a six-part series coming to Channel 4 on Saturday August 13 at 9pm. All episodes will also become available on All 4.
Is there a trailer for Griff’s Canadian Adventure?
Yes there's a trailer for Griff’s Canadian Adventure. You'll even see him speak French at the start of it! Do take a look at what Griff gets up to in the trailer below...
Griff’s Canadian Adventure — destinations and episode guide
Here's our guide to the six episodes in
EPISODE 1 NEWFOUNDLAND — BIGNESS
British comedian and travel enthusiast Griff Rhys Jones begins his journey across Canada, exploring Newfoundland and Labrador in the East and uncovering what makes Canada distinctly unique and decidedly "big".
EPISODE 2: QUEBEC — FRENCHNESS
It's off to Quebec to uncover just how "French" Canada really is. From Montreal to Quebec City, Griff will reveal how its history has helped shaped the multicultural Canada of today. He'll be speaking French too!
EPISODE 3: ONTARIO — NICENESS
He begins his exploration of Ontario at Niagara Falls, right on the US border, to uncover what it is that makes Canadians so nice.
EPISODE 4: MANITOBA - COLDNESS
Things get chilly and decidedly dangerous for Griff as he explores the frozen wilds of Manitoba, North Canada, and visits a town that sometimes has more polar bears than people.
EPISODE 5: SASAKATCHEWON/ALBERTA — RICHNESS / EMPTINESS
The prairies and vast sprawling plains of both Saskatchewan and Alberta provinces are visited by Griff, who discovers they reveal riches from fossils to farmland.
EPISODE 6: BRITISH COLUMBIA — HAPPINESS
Griff finishes his journey across Canada in the popular, lifestyle province of British Columbia in the Pacific Northwest and discovers what it is about this place that makes people so happy.
Interview: Griff Rhys Jones on what happens to him Griff's Canadian Adventure
Griff, episode one starts with you floating in the freezing Atlantic. How did they persuade you to do that?
"I always say we should have something arresting to start the series, like me jumping out of a boat for the Australian one, so it is genuinely my own fault! My intention was that I'd be in the middle of a storm and rescued by helicopter, but unfortunately the budget wouldn’t run to that. And I had to wear a dry suit, because otherwise I’d have been dead in 30 seconds!"
What other scary activities do you try out?
"In British Columbia, they took me abseiling, which I’ve done before. But the mountaineer hadn’t told me that, to get to the place we were abseiling down from, there was a traverse across a sheer cliff! When I was in New Zealand three years ago, they persuaded me to do a bungee jump off the Kawarau suspension bridge, and I have never been so scared in my life. I thought: ‘is this actually what I should be doing at the age of 65?!"
How did you enjoy trying out as an ice hockey keeper?
"That was terrifying! The players were sent one by one to whizz down the rink and bang a puck in my general direction at about 150mph! As the goalie, it’s just your body between this rubber bullet and the goal! And you're wearing this sort of suit of armour that’s really uncomfortable. I don't know how they do it!"
Do you think twice about any of these hair-raising stunts?
"Once the camera is running, you feel: ‘I ought to do this’, but there are times when you think :‘Why am I doing this?’ And I tend to vocalise that!"
Where did you go to look for polar bears?
"We went to this little outpost called Churchill where, every year, polar bears go through the town as they move from the tundra to the ice in search of food. We arrived on Halloween, when the kids were trick or treating, and the fire service, police and local volunteers had formed a cordon, armed with guns, to look out for polar bears!"
How close did you get to the polar bears?
"We were in a tundra buggy with an armed guard, and we encountered a mum and a teenager, who came to investigate us."
How dangerous are the polar bears?
"A fireman told me he’d been six inches from a polar bear when he was out jogging. And we were served by a girl in a cafe who said: ‘I came round a dark corner on the way home from work, and I was attacked by a polar bear and nearly scalped.’"
What are the facts and the fiction about Canadians?
"I thought the fact that they don’t want to be mistaken for Americans was a myth, but it’s true. And there’s this myth that Canadians are the nicest people in the world, and in fact they were unbelievably sweet, pleasant and charming."
What surprised you about Canada?
"There are more Ukrainian dance teams in the midwest of Canada than in Ukraine! Also they are very proud of their chocolate, but it actually turns out to be Cadbury's. And when you say ‘this is British’ they're not impressed!"
Didn't you encounter a lot of Canadians during your gap year?
"Yes! I ran the disco on a cruise ship that had 600 Canadian schoolgirls on board! I don’t know if you’ve ever seen that reality show Below Deck, but like the crew on that, we were not supposed to fraternise with the passengers!"
No holiday romance then?
"I did fall in love, and I started writing letters to about 20 Canadian girlfriends! I did think, while making this series: ‘what if I met up again with these elderly matrons who were my former girlfriends?’ That would make interesting TV!"
Did you bring back any souvenirs?
"One thing I did buy, because I thought I looked so good in it, was a white Calgary hat. It's gone straight in that cupboard which is full of things that you like enormously when you try them on, and then you never wear again! And I brought my four-year-old grand-daughter back an ice hockey shirt."
Where does your love of travel come from?
"When I was a kid we didn’t go abroad – we went to West Mersea in Essex for our holidays. And then when I was working for the BBC for 20-odd years I didn’t get abroad much. It all started when I went to Sudan for Comic Relief.
Is this your dream job?
"People say: ‘What is it with all these celebrities taking holidays on TV?!’ But I have to say it's actually quite hard work, as you’re often starting filming at five in the morning, and finishing at midnight! So yes, it is a dream job, but also a tough one."
I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus Whattowatch.com. I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.
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