The BBC’s Race Across The World is making a return after its very successful debut last year.
The travelling show – which saw a number of travellers compete to reach Singapore from London with a set amount of money and a no-flying rule – became BBC Two’s highest-performing first-series factual entertainment episode in more than three years, and one of the channel’s top 10 most-watched shows of the year.
As a result, it was commissioned for two more series, with the second set to air very soon.
So, when is it on? And what can viewers expect?
Here’s everything you need to know…
— BBC Two (@BBCTwo) February 27, 2020
When is it Race Across the World on?
Race Across The World began on Sunday 8th March at 8pm on BBC Two.
Episodes air each week at 8pm on BBC, with episode three on Sunday 22nd March.
The series will also be available to stream on BBC iPlayer.
The second series has been extended by two extra weeks, so will show for eight weeks.
Where is Race Across the World filmed?
Like last year, contestants will be pushed to their limits as they race from one place to another thousands of miles away without taking a single flight or using their smartphone.
In series one, the couples had to try and make their way to Singapore. This time they’ll be setting off from Mexico City in a race to reach the most southerly city in the world, Ushuaia in Argentina.
Studio Lambert creative director Tim Harcourt, who exec-produces the show, said they originally planned to start the journey off in the US, but there were difficulties in doing this.
He explained: “We considered starting in the US but it’s currently very hard to film there. Mexico City was a much more alien starting point than London. We can all vaguely imagine how to get out of London but I challenge anyone to get out of Mexico with limited funds.”
The trailer for series two explains: “10 unlikely travellers [will] cross 16 countries without the trappings of everyday life.”
It goes on to list some of those countries, which include Mexico, Uruguay, Prague and Bolivia, before showing the couples hand over their phones and race around to get to their destination via horse, foot, boat or bus.
Were there any challenges filming series two?
According to Broadcast Now, Race Across the World execs had to re-route the contestants several times to avoid “hairy border crossings” during filming for the second series.
Creative director Tim said conflicts in countries such as Ecuador – where a series of protest and riots against austerity took place last year – caused some of the checkpoints to be relocated.
“No one was hurt or met their fate at the butt of a rifle,” he explained.
Speaking on a panel at a screening of the BBC2 show last month, commissioning editor Michael Jochnowitz said health and safety was “paramount” and that he would have pulled the plug on the show if contestants had been in danger.
Are the contestants given any money?
Series producer Lucy Curtis said “money issues” were much more of a problem in the second run.
Each contestant was given £1,453 to get from A to B without flying, via several checkpoints.
Will there be a celebrity version?
Series one consolidated to an average audience of 3m (11.4 per cent) and its finale became BBC2’s top-rated factual-entertainment episode for more than three years with 3.4m (14.3 per cent).
It also over-indexed with 16-34 year olds, leading to a double series recommission and the ordering of a celebrity version.
Speaking of the spin off, Jochnowitz said it will “explore celebrities and their relationships in a whole new way”.
Tim added: “We’re used to seeing Joanna Lumley having a lush time somewhere nice but this will be a very different take on a travelogue.”
Who are the Race Against the World couples?
This year’s line-up includes a mother and son duo and a twosome who can’t even pronounce the name of their final destination. Here’s a full breakdown.
Dom and Lizzie
Yorkshire siblings Dom, a teaching assistant, and Lizzie, a chalet host, want to use their race across the world to reconnect after drifting apart over the years. “My motivation for taking part is to get the chance to build a stronger relationship with my brother, as I believe we have a lot more in common than we both think,” Lucy said.
Her brother Dom agreed, stating: “We used to be so close when we were younger and it is something we both acknowledge and have a desire to get back.”
Emon and Jamiul
Emon and his nephew Jamiul reconnected recently after ten years apart. Architecture graduate Jamiul, who hopes the race will help build their relationship up again, encouraged his adventurous uncle to join.
It looks like Emon’s competitive spirit might get them far: “I don’t believe in coming in second, I don’t do losing. I am in it to win it.”
Jo and Sam
“My son and I get on so well and he is desperate to travel, but I’m nervous of him going off on his own,” psychotherapist and travel enthusiast Jo explains of her reasoning behind joining the race.
Her 19-year-old son Sam, who suffers from ADHD, is enjoying working as a landscape gardener, but hopes his mum can teach him the ropes of travelling: “Mum and I are very close; we often think or say the same things, she has travelled a lot in her life, so I think it would be fun to do it with her.”
Shuntelle and Michael
Sensible project manager Shuntelle is used to 5-star travel, so the race is likely to come as a bit of a shock to the system. “It’s time to move away from the all-inclusive holidays in Jamaica and see what else the world has to offer. I also want to show my boyfriend that I am not made out of cotton wool,” she says.
Said boyfriend is ex-military Michael, loves the outdoors and wants to “win the competition by doing something that I like to do.”
Jen and Rob
Jen and Rob have been married for five years, together for nine. Rob is hearing-impaired, with a recent operation leaving him with only 20% of hearing. “Due to my hearing loss, we don’t communicate as much anymore so I want this to challenge and force us to improve our communication,” he says.
“He loves to travel, and I want to share a good experience with him after all of this heartache we’ve been through,” Jen says. “I want to remind him what fun is and show him that everything is OK and yes, you’ve had to adapt to a new life, but look what we can achieve together.”
Race Across The World returns to BBC Two on at 8pm on 8th March