2011, 2012, 2013, TV

World’s Most Dangerous Roads (2011)

Each episode, two British celebrities us in North American have never heard of (unless you watch Taskmaster other British variety shows) tackle some crazy roads in some part of the world. It’s a great concept that I wish they had invested more in. I also think it would work wonderfully in the States, with either celebrities or even just race car drivers, but I feel like this is the kind of content that US insurance companies (who insure the celebrities/athletes) would never allow. (Though some Americans do find their way onto Running Wild so maybe I can hope.) Imagine this show with like, Taylor Swift and LeBron James. That would be a popular show. I know it will never happen.

“Alaska”

Charlier Boorman (of Long Way Round/Long Way Down and now Long Way Up fame) and Sue Perkins drive the through Alaska to the Dalton Highway. Though Boorman, who knows his way around a dangerous road, claims it’s one of the scariest things he’s ever done, Jenn and I ended up thinking this was probably the least stressful drive of the show. We have both driven through whiteouts, but these two didn’t even know to turn their flashers on! (If you don’t know, I guess, you don’t know.) Of all the roads on this show, this is the one I have actually thought of doing (though not that this time of year) and I found it the least intimidating. (If you don’t know, I’ve driven my share of crazy roads though nothing like the ones on this show.) Still, it’s a fun episode.

“Nepal”

This episode, featuring future Taskmaster host Greg Davies and future Taskmaster contestant Rhod Gilbert, is the first of the remaining episodes of the show that we’ve watched where, at some point, we both decided we wouldn’t want to do it. In this case, the hardest part involves landslides. A crazy one but then, they’re mostly crazy.

“Peru”

This one features both insane cliffside drives like Nepal (without the rain) and also incredibly mucky jungle, like the future Madagascar episode. While watching it, you will swear it’s the most dangerous of the series but, then, you’ll watch another episode/

“Siberia”

No sheer cliffs but a different kind of danger: you can never turn off your car because you will never be able to restart it. The danger here is the cold and they stuck in a ditch more than once. It’s far from the most nerve-wracking episode but it’s arguably as dangerous as anything else other than the Alaska episode.

“Ho Chi Minh Trail”

This one made me miss Vietnam. The river crossings in this episode are the stuff of nightmares but, in retrospect, it might be one of the least treacherous drives of the show if only because of the lack of cliffs. (Though there are unexploded bombs everywhere.) Sue Perkins strikes back.

“Ethiopia”

This one has some really crazy cliffs as well as some scary facts about the drivers you meet along the way. (In more than one of these the locals say the biggest danger is other drivers.) I’ve long wanted to go to Ethiopia and this just reemphasized that. Just stunning views. (That’s most of this show, though.)

(IMDB claims there are two more episodes to season two, but I think this is a mistake by the user. Wikipedia lists the usual three and the show I can find covering the episode titles is clearly not this show, but some other show.)

“Madagascar”

Though one of the episodes with the fewest cliffs, along with the Alaska and Siberia episodes, this one has the most epic mud, worse than any other episode, as well as some crazy ferries and river crossings. The mud on these “roads” has to be seen to be believed and we both wonder if this drive might have been the most tiring just because of their pace and all the mud.

“Georgia”

Even before I saw Taming the Garden, I was interested in visiting the Caucasus but that film solidified Georgia as a destination for me. This one just reinforces it. Some crazy cliffside drives here for sure, but absolutely stunning scenery.

“Bolivia”

This episode features the World’s Scariest Carwash in addition to some crazy cliffside roads and an incredible drive across some salt flats.


We loved this show. It’s exactly our catnip. And I’m so happy to learn there is a season 4 (though I don’t know where to stream it) and season 5 is coming any day.

I only have two quibbles:

The first is that each of these episodes could have easily be more than one episode. You can’t tell me they didn’t have enough footage but my guess is the contract was a 3-episode season. But you don’t get as complete an experience as Long Way Round/Down/Up or even The Grand Tour. It would be nice to see more, especially of the people and food.

The second issue is that every single pair thinks their drive is the absolute craziest. One of them is surely right but it would have been cool to see one through-driver per season, where they could have said, “You think this is bad, you should have seen [enter country here].” That perspective is missing, though it’s hardly a huge problem.

Make more of this stuff, TV people. (Especially American TV people, who don’t seem to understand how to make shows like this.)

9/10

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