Down the Mighty River with Steve Backshall

Down the Mighty River with Steve Backshall

Series 1 - Episode 2



Not much is going according to plan in this expedition’s enjoyable (to watch) descent of the River Baliem in New Guinea. “So far, we’ve managed to handle everything the river has thrown at us,” Steve Backshall crows to the camera, ignoring the fact that they’ve skipped over whole stretches of the Baliem using their convenient on-call helicopter because the white-water gorges were simply too dangerous to kayak.

No shame in that, though: freak rainfall has swollen the river to a torrent and watching the sections they do paddle down is dramatic enough. Away from the river, there’s a nice encounter with the local Yali tribesmen, an excursion into the almost impenetrable jungle that goes quite badly and an excellent scene where Steve demonstrates exactly what not to do around a swarm of wasps.


In the conclusion of the two-part programme, the naturalist travels down the Baliem River's lower gorge, one of the most dangerous stretches of white water in the world surrounded by jagged rock walls. His exploration of the surrounding jungle leads to an encounter with a tribe that has had little contact with the outside world. As he concludes his trek in the river's coastal reaches, he faces a crisis of conscience as he witnesses a traditional crocodile hunt.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Steve Backshall
Contributor Aldo Kane
Actor Jordy Searle
Director Alexis Girardet
Executive Producer Jonathan Renouf
Producer Ingrid Kvale
Writer Ingrid Kvale
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