Walking the Nile and Walking the Himalayas explorer’s next challenge: to trek 1700 miles along the spine of the Americas from Mexico to Colombia.
Channel 4 today announces its third major series with explorer Levison Wood, as he follows up his treks along the entire length of the Nile and the length of the Himalayas.
Beginning in the north-eastern tip of Mexico, Levison will walk the entire length of Central America, through eight countries before attempting to cross the treacherous Darien Gap into Colombia and South America.
Walking the Americas, co-produced by October Films and GroupM Entertainment, will see Levison return to Mexico, where he lived for three months and Belize – where he trained as a soldier with the British Army – before stepping into a part of the world he’s never visited before and some of the most diverse, beautiful and unpredictable regions on earth.
Levison’s expedition will take in ancient Mayan ruins still lying unexplored in the jungles of Guatemala and Honduras, the incredible wildlife diversity in Costa Rica’s cloud forests, Nicaragua’s active volcanoes, the Panama Canal and the Darien Gap on a sometimes brutal journey.
As well as exploring the spectacular landscapes, Levison will spend time with the people living throughout the region – in both its modern cities and areas of the countryside where traditional life for farmers and indigenous tribes remains largely unchanged. He will join pilgrims as they trek to remote ruins, shamans holding eye-opening ceremonies to connect with the spirit world, Mennonite farmers living traditional lives, and go hunting with the extraordinary Bribri tribe – a matrilineal society living isolated from the modern world. Along his route south, he’ll meet migrants making the journey in the opposition direction as they head towards the border with the US.
He will meet English speaking Belizeans, Garifuna communities of African descent, proud Nicaraguan revolutionaries who defeated the US military machine and pacifist Costa Ricans, whose country is one of the only in the world without an army. And in the region’s urban areas he sees at first hand the effects of gang violence and drug trafficking in some of the world’s most violent and dangerous cities.
At the end of the journey, before he can reach his destination, Levison will attempt to cross Darien Gap. Billed as ‘the most intense and brutal 90km of terrain anywhere on earth’ few have made it across, let alone even attempted it. It will take every inch of Levison’s guile, tact, strength and resilience to make it to the other side and into Colombia and the end of his journey.
Levison Wood’s two previous documentary series, Walking the Nile and Walking the Himalayas have been huge hits with both critics and viewers. Walking the Americas, like the previous series, is being filmed by Levison himself, with visits at key points from a television crew, for a TV series to be broadcast in early 2017.
Levison Wood said: “For this new expedition, I wanted to take a different approach and explore an area of the world which I’ve not encountered before. It will be a new challenge for me, out of my comfort zone and spending time with people living vastly different lives – from hunting and foraging in the dense jungle to the daily struggle of life in some of the world’s most dangerous cities. And at the end of it all, to attempt to cross one of the most impenetrable borders on earth the Darien Gap route into South America.”
John Hay, Commissioning Editor for Channel 4, said: “Lev and October have found a way to make adventure programming that feels more raw, real and exciting than anything I’ve seen before, and I’m delighted that he’s going to be opening up another part of the world for us this year.”
Jos Cushing, Executive Producer for October Films said: “Lev’s previous expeditions have provided some of the most incredible moments of television I’ve been involved with – and have struck a real chord with viewers watching the series and on social media. Walking the Americas will be a worthy successor, as Lev will provide a ground-level insight into this fascinating area of the world.”
Tony Moulsdale, Director of Programming for GroupM Entertainment said TBC: “Lev has brought the most authentic approach to adventure programming in his previous series. Walking the Americas will be incredibly challenging for him but ultimately a captivating and rewarding experience for viewers.”
Walking the Americas is co-produced by October Films and GroupM Entertainment. The Series Producer is Jamie Berry and Executive Producers are Jos Cushing for October Films and Melanie Darlaston for GroupM Entertainment.
WALKING THE AMERICAS by Levison Wood will be published in hardcover and ebook by Hodder & Stoughton in spring 2017.