Carry on Up the Jungle; Walking the Amazon

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Wareham

Wednesday, Discovery Channel, 10pm

There can be few epic challenges left to explorers wanting to make a name for themselves, but walking the entire length of the Amazon river was one still to be ticked off for the simple reason that the consensus was that it couldn't be done. Not only would you have to carry gear to survive in mountain, jungle and water, but you'd also have to trek at least 4,000 miles, much of it unmapped, for more than a year, encountering deadly insects and snakes, bogs and jaguars, malaria and Dengue fever, drug smugglers and remote tribes. You'd need the survival skills of Ray Mears, the tenacity of Ranulph Fiennes and the luck of the devil just to make it out of there in one piece.

Former British Army captain Ed Staff ord not only believed it could be done, but decided to make the charity trip infinitely more complex by filming it himself, meaning that he would also have to lug two HD video cameras, chargers, tapes and batteries. When he visited the head of the commissioning production company, he was told, 'I love your expedition. It's pointless.' Which translated as, 'You've got no chance, but it should provide us with a few laughs on your quite obviously doomed trip.'

From the start of this two-part documentary you suspect that Staff ord (right) is prepared to die in his attempt to conquer the world's largest river. His expedition partner Luke Collyer gives up after just three months because he can't hack the pace and develops a serious inferiority complex. …