Home Blog Celebrity Race Across the World, BBC One, finale review: – The Telegraph

Celebrity Race Across the World, BBC One, finale review: – The Telegraph

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Worthy winners, thrilling tasks – this is a show so heart-warming you'll want to immediately book a trip around the world with your parents
After four weeks, 10,000km and 24 countries, there were a mere four minutes in it. Celebrity Race Across the World (BBC One) climaxed with an appropriately nail-biting dash to the finish line. Not many TV shows can make you cheer on strangers waddling up hills with heavy rucksacks. This addictive and inspiring series is a rare exception.
The hit format – an ingenious mix of reality contest and travelogue – won a Bafta for its first series and saw the show deservedly promoted from BBC Two to BBC One for its third. This was its first celebrity incarnation, with four famous types and their loved ones embarking on a gruelling trek from North Africa to the Arctic. No smartphones, no credit cards, just a limited budget and a paper map (remember them?).
One might assume the appeal would be in watching pampered VIPs stripped of luxuries and forced to slum it. However, the series has been full of surprises, with all involved embracing the chance to see life from ground-level again. Most heartwarming have been the parent-child pairings: McFly drummer Harry Judd with his mother, Emma; All Saints singer Melanie Blatt with her mother, Helene; and broadcaster Alex Beresford with his father, Noel. They all relished spending a month together, albeit an arduous one.
A thrilling finale full of twists began with the biggest. The leading team, racing driver Billy Monger and his sister, Bonny, dropped out of the contest due to a family emergency. That left a three-way sprint to Tromsø in Norway. As temperatures plummeted, prices rose and budgets were stretched to the limit, they begged for lifts and took on temp jobs to replenish their coffers. 
Filleting fish in Oslo, Emma said the adventure had made her feel “young and fun again”, even if she did smell faintly of cod. In Lapland, Beresford fulfilled his childhood dream of herding reindeer. Noel rolled his eyes fondly and told his son to “grow up”. Blatt pondered how her mother’s recent illness had moved them into a new phase of their relationship. “It’s my turn to look after her,” she said. “And I’m happy to do it.” 
I was rooting for the adorable Judds but, by the narrowest of margins, the Beresfords clinched it. Yet life is about the journey, not the destination. As Alex said: “We’ll cherish this experience for the rest of our lives.” Noel was proud of the man his son had become. It made me want to pack a rucksack, turn off my phone and hit the road. Well, kind of. Maybe next year, eh?

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