Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman embark on a round the world trip on their motorbikes…
Yes, this is rather old but having just got the whole lot on DVD I’m giving it another shot, I watched bits of it when it was aired initially and now is my chance to watch the bastard lot in one fell swoop.
What becomes immediately apparent after watching the start of disc one is that (first time round watching The Long Way Round, yeah) I’d missed the first four episodes in which McGregor and Boorman plan their ‘trip’. From the outset it’s not just a question of two mates going ‘we’ll go that way’, getting a map, sleeping bag and tent and just heading off. No, it’s more of a military-planned operation being overseen by an office of plum-mouthed toffos working for some massive fucking production company who are more concerned about appeasing insurance underwriters and McGregor’s agent should he bang his fizzog on a rock rendering him unable to play Particle Worbly in the new Star Wars: The Tinkle of Chelt, or something.
After an entire episode where nothing happens save chatting and pointing, we see McGregor and Boorman undertake first aid training, motorcycle training, fitness training, what to do at borders training, toilet training and training. All of this is punctuated with ‘diary cams’ and family scenes where we are left wondering why they didn’t do this before they had wives and lots of children who may be affected by their respective daddies fucking off for five months on a jolly…
Anyway, fuck them, the boys are off. Just them, their machines, the open road, oh, and three 4×4 support vehicles each containing a variety of hand-wringing executives, producers and a fucking doctor if you please -should McGregor sprain his little toe on some nasty wind- and a Swiss cameraman on a motorbike like what our boys have to film them pootling about like brittle boned pensioners. By the time I was on episode three I wondering what the fucking point of this ‘motorcycle’ journey was and was reminded of David Cameron cycling to The Commons with two fully laden Lexus following him. I figure it has the same point as that.
The icing on the cake of this travesty is that Mr. McGregor and Boorman also ‘sing’ the theme tune. That should be ‘yell the theme tune tunelessly in order to drown out the other so that by the end of the first verse you can hear blood bouncing off the pop shield’. I’d rather listen to the desperate screams of an orphaned child being repeatedly stung on its eye by a wasp.
It’s bloody good in places though. Highly recommended.