The brilliant BAFTA award-winning series Race Across the World returns with a twist – this time it’s a celebrity version with a cast of famous faces.
Four stars of TV, music and sport must race against each other across 24 countries with a limited budget. With no phones or flights allowed, they must get from Africa to the Arctic by any means necessary. That’s 10,000km without the VIP treatment some of them are more used to.
The pairings have four weeks, and a family member for company, to race from Marrakesh in Morocco, to Tromso in Norway via several European checkpoints.
And, like the non-starry version, the beauty is in the relationships, and bearing witness to how the contestants work under pressure…
Here’s everything you need to know about Celebrity Race Across the World, which starts on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 9pm on BBC One.
Celebrity Race Across the World series 1
It’s the first celebrity version of Race Across the World on BBC One, but we’re pretty confident it won’t be the last. In the special edition of the series, viewers see four famous faces partner up with a family member in a race against time.
The celebrities embark on a 10,000km race – more than 6,000 miles – from Africa to the Arctic, ditching their luxury items and learning to travel on a very limited budget. They cannot use credit cards, smartphones or have any access to the internet. They have four weeks to reach their destination, and most rely upon the kindness of strangers – so their fame might help.
Like the ‘normal’ version, the Celebrity Race Across the World cast often have to work along the way to earn more money for their travels. Preview pictures show Melanie Blatt cuddling a lamb during one such unscheduled stop.
Who are the celebrities taking part in the cast of Celebrity Race Across the World?
Taking part in the series are McFly drummer Harry Judd and his mother Emma. Harry is no stranger to reality TV, having already taken part in Cooking with the Stars, The Real Full Monty. Harry won the 2011 series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Racing driver and pundit Billy Monger takes part with his sister Bonny. And it only takes a few minutes for Bonny to reveal her bro is a mummy’s boy! Racing fans will know that Billy is a double amputee. He tragically lost both his legs in a horrific crash at Donington Park in 2017.
After treatment and therapy, he returned to compete in November 2017. In 2018, he won the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.
Singer Melanie Blatt tackles the challenge with her mum Helene. Melanie, who clearly prefers taxis to buses, is best known for being one quarter of the girl band All Saints. To prepare for the experience, Melanie said she “got a sunbed, and a McDonalds”.
Meanwhile, broadcaster Alex Beresford takes part with his father Noel. He tells us: “I thought it was a fantastic opportunity to do something that we’ve never done before. Neither of us have ever backpacked, so it’s a new experience.”
He also admits: “Ordering room service, having a nice time, taking a dip in the pool, I guess that’s what we’ve been used to. Backpacking hasn’t previously really appealed to me, to be honest with you.”
Where do they travel through?
Starting in Marrakech, Morocco, the most north-western country in Africa, and ending in Tromsø, Norway, known as the Arctic capital, the epic journey will span 24 countries and over 10,000km.
The route will see the pairs race through every landscape and culture that the part of the world has to offer – from the great North African city of Marrakech, through the seaside ports and beaches of the Mediterranean, to unrivalled historic and cosmopolitan cities, the mighty Alps, unexplored Central Europe, the fairy-tale Baltic States, and snowy Scandinavia.
Basically it’s scenery porn. And one of the main reasons the show is so popular. Who doesn’t want to see the world without leaving their sofa?
How many episodes is Celebrity Race Across the World?
Celebrity Race Across the World is six episodes in total. Each instalment will be one hour long.
The series starts on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 9pm on BBC One, and continues every Wednesday after that until the grand final on Wednesday, October 25, 2023.
All episodes will be available on BBC iPlayer after transmission.
Why was the series delayed?
The series was initially due to start on Wednesday, September 13, 2023. But it was postponed following the powerful 6.8 magnitude earthquake that hit Morocco on Friday, September 8, 2023.
The natural disaster claimed the lives of more than 2,800 people. The series was postponed for a week because the first episode takes place in Morocco.
A statement from the show explained: “The BBC has announced that in light of the earthquake in Morocco, the first episode of Celebrity Race Across the World will be postponed.
“We of course started off our journey in Marrakesh – it’s a beautiful city and we were so warmly welcomed by everyone during filming. Our hearts go out to the people of the country, and our thoughts are with them.”
Celebrity Race Across the World kicks off on Wednesday, September 20, 2023 at 9pm on BBC One.
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