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Alex is a self-confessed history nerd and award-winning researcher, with a love of travel and storytelling. Alex co-founded award-winning independent production company Grammar Productions, with the intention of making innovative documentaries that delve deeper into history and how it affects the lives of people and societies around the world today. His work has taken him to some of the less-travelled corners of the world, including the back-country of Sierra Leone, the remote Peruvian Andes and the insurgent-ridden southern Philippines. He learned to understand these very different places through studying their histories – best done by forming close bonds with the people who live there.
Alex's most recent long-form project and passionate labour of love, has involved filming over several years in far-flung corners of Myanmar. We Were Kings, winner of the prestigious 2016 Whicker's World Foundation Funding Award, premiered at the British Library as part of OpenCity Docs Festival in September 2017. Alex also reported on the mystery of Burma's lost royal ruby for BBC World News. You can read the full accompanying article here. He is currently midway through production on a new documentary about Burma's WWII veterans 'Forgotten Allies' and is the presenter of a new travel documentary series Myanmar: The Incredible Journey, for broadcast on Canal+ Myanmar in 2018 and globally in 2019. You can watch Alex's showreel here.
Ash Bhardwaj is an adventure filmmaker and travel writer. His assignments have included travelling to Everest with wounded British soldiers, meeting the Area Boys of Lagos in Nigeria, trekking through Sudan’s Bayuda Desert and making a pilgrimage with his father’s ashes to the source of the River Ganges. In 2014, Ash joined Levison Wood for 700 miles of his Walking The Nile expedition, filming extensively in Uganda and the Sahara. He subsequently worked on Walking The Himalayas, Walking The Americas and From Russia To Iran. His solo projects include trekking through the Albanian Alps tracing the footsteps of the WWII Special Operations Executive (SOE) and travelling through Colombia for the Insight TV series 'On The Run' (Sky 564).
Ash previously taught secondary school Chemistry and Physics and he continues to volunteer in education, mentoring 6th formers. His articles have appeared in the Daily Telegraph, The Times, Huffington Post, Evening Standard, Sunday Times Travel and BA Highlife, amongst others. In 2014 he commissioned as an Officer in the British Army Reserve, where he serves in The Rifles. In March 2018, he embarked on a major expedition along the length of the new Iron Curtain, covering some 3500 miles over the course of 5 months. The journey became the subject of Telegraph Travel's first ever podcast Edgelands, reaching number 1 in the iTunes chart in its first week. He also recently fronted Barbour's SS18 campaign with a series of short films about the Jurassic coast. You can watch Ash's showreel here.
James Evans is an author, historian and television producer specialising in history documentaries. After achieving a first in History at Oxford, James went on to pursue his PhD, focusing on perceptions of the nationality question in the new state of Yugoslavia after WWI. His doctoral thesis was published by I.B.Tauris in 2005. James has subsequently carved a successful career in television, working with the likes of David Starkey, Niall Ferguson, Michael Wood and David Reynolds, with broadcast credits including Battle Castles, Western Civilisation, The Story of England and Long Shadow.
Merchant Adventurers: The Voyage of Discovery That Transformed Tudor England was James’ critically-acclaimed first book for a wider market, published by W&N in the UK and Pegasus in the US. James' latest book 'Emigrants: Why The English Sailed To The New World' explores the stories of the ordinary English men and women who risked crossing the Atlantic in the 17th century to find a better life. It was published in the UK by Weidenfeld & Nicolson on July 6th 2017 and received rave reviews in The Times, Telegraph, Spectator and FT, as well as being an Evening Standard no1 London bestseller. James' book was also recently published in the US, resulting in a series of speaking engagements on Cunard's QM2 crossing from Southampton to New York and an appearance at the Seaport Museum, NYC. You can watch a short clip of James here and listen to his Emigrants podcast in conversation with Dan Snow here.
John Hudson is the UK military’s chief survival instructor, designing and implementing the training of instructors in Land, Sea, and Extreme Environment Survival. Prior to joining the RAF as a helicopter pilot, John studied Product Design at Leeds College of Art. He has penned the joint services survival training manual, revised the RAF’s aide memoir found in all military aircraft survival packs and advised on the UK’s SERE (Survive Evade Resist Extract) training film, watched by all service personnel before deployment overseas.
A co-founder of Survival Wisdom, offering specialist survival training to civilians, John has been a resident expert on two series of Discovery’s “Dude, You’re Screwed’ (‘Survive That’ in the UK), putting his expertise to the test in some of the planet’s most demanding environments. Amongst others, John has survived the elements in Asian and Central American jungles, the Arctic Circle and the high altitudes of the Atacama Desert. He is currently writing his first book, details of which will be announced later in the year. John will also be appearing in Ed Stafford's latest TV series First Man Out, which airs on Discovery UK and Discovery Asia next spring. You can watch John's brand new showreel for 2018 here.
Amy Hughes is an endurance runner and personal trainer. In 2014, Amy ran an incredible 53 marathons in 53 consecutive days. This achievement secured her the no. 27 spot in the Telegraph’s Top 100 Britons of 2014. She also made the Runner’s World Top 5 Running Heroes of 2014 and ‘Running Moment of the Year’ at the prestigious Running Awards. In 2016, Amy took on another epic endeavour - the 7 Day Treadmill Challenge - running 521 miles in one week. More recently, she ran 400 miles in 14 days across the 4 islands of the Balearics.
Amy strives to inspire young people to keep fit, both through her work as a Dame Kelly Holmes Trust athlete and via her charity ‘The 53 Foundation’, which helps disabled people become more active. Amy's brand work has included collaborations with CLIF Bar, Panache Role Models, as a judge for Jack Wills' Young Brits Awards, fronting Zakti Activewear's marathon training campaign and penning a successful blog on RedBull Online. Her first TV series 'On The Run', filmed in Ecuador, aired on Insight (Sky 564) in 2017. She is currently planning her next epic challenge for 2019. You can watch a lovely film about her inspiration and motivation here.
Alastair Humphreys is an adventurer, author, motivational speaker, filmmaker and photographer. After completing his Zoology degree at Edinburgh and a PGCE at Oxford, Alastair spent over four years cycling round the world, a journey of 46,000 miles through sixty countries and five continents. Since then, he has walked across southern India, rowed across the Atlantic, run six marathons through the Sahara, completed a crossing of Iceland and participated in an expedition in the Arctic. He has also trekked 1000 miles across the Empty Quarter desert and 120 miles round the M25 - one of his pioneering microadventures. In 2017, Alastair spent a month busking with his violin around Spain, in hommage to Laurie Lee's travels in 'As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning'.
Alastair is the author of 10 books in total, including Microadventures: Local Discoveries, Great Escapes (William Collins), a concept he devised which resulted in him being named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, and 'Grand Adventures', the follow-up title published to great critical acclaim. His previous brand partnerships include collaborations with Visit Britain, Molton Brown, Land Rover, Glenfiddich, Victorinox, Sea-Doo, Destination Canada, Cartier and Brancott Estate. He is also a proud ambassador for Haglofs and Alpkit and the star of Stowford Press' latest TV ad campaign. You can watch Al's showreel here.
Justine is an adventurer, senior NHS critical care physiotherapist and volunteer aid worker. Specialising in trauma, complex long-term rehabilitation, as well as acute and critical care (including Ebola patients transferred to high security units in the UK), Justine has worked at the Royal Free, London for 9 years. She holds a BSc in Sports Therapy from the University of Hertfordshire and a BSc in Physiotherapy from the University of East London. Prior to joining the Royal Free, she worked as a physio at West Ham United FC and Wasps RFC.
Away from the wards, Justine has led multiple cross-country ski, kayak and hiking expeditions in the Canadian and European Arctic. With a deep appreciation of science and history, Justine hopes to engage people in those subjects through her adventures. These include a solo 3,500 mile cycle ride across 15 countries of the former Iron Curtain, a 1000 mile walk along the entire length of Finland and a Via Ferrata climbing adventure along the WWI front line of the Dolomite mountains. Justine also volunteers as an emergency responder, providing care and physiotherapy in flood-stricken Louisiana, in Haiti following Hurricane Matthew, working with Syrian refugees in Greece and helping to rebuild the infrastructure of schoolhouses in Uganda's Kiryandongo refugee camp. Justine recently returned from a hiking expedition in Greenland and she also successfully summited Mont Blanc this summer. She is currently hatching plans for the North Pole this coming spring. You can watch a clip of Justine sharing her experiences here.
Henry Jeffreys worked in the wine trade for two years, before moving into publishing, where under the name Blake Pudding he was a founder member of the London Review of Breakfasts and contributor to the Breakfast Bible (Bloomsbury, 2013). Since 2010 he has been writing mainly about drink, books and popular culture under his own name, with articles featured in the Daily Telegraph, Time Out, the Spectator and Foxed Quarterly, amongst others. He was the wine columnist for The Lady magazine for three years and more recently the Guardian's regular drinks columnist. More recently, he has been a contributing wine critic for the BBC Good Food Wine Club in association with Laithwaites and a judge on the BBC Food & Farming Awards 2017.
Henry's book Empire of Booze, a history of Britain told via the nation's penchant for alcoholic drinks, was published by Unbound in November 2016 to great critical acclaim, with rave reviews in the Guardian, Spectator and Daily Mail, amongst others. In spring 2017, it was voted Debut Drink Book of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason Awards. Henry was recently invited to the USA to promote Empire of Booze and discuss Britain's 'special relationship' with alcohol, including an entertaining interview on CNBC, which you can watch here. Henry is also to be found blogging at Henry's World of Booze and he is currently the Features Editor for Master of Malt. His latest book The Home Bar was published by Jacqui Small in October 2018.
Leon McCarron is a Northern Irish adventurer, filmmaker, writer and motivational speaker. His expeditions include walking 3000 miles across China, filmed for the Nat Geo series Walking Home From Mongolia, and riding a bicycle 14,000 miles from New York to Hong Kong. His resulting book The Road Headed West was published by Summersdale in July 2014. Leon has also trekked 1000 miles across the Empty Quarter desert with fellow adventurer Alastair Humphreys and their feature-length film Into The Empty Quarter appeared on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Other adventures include exploring the route of the Santa Cruz River in Patagonia on horseback, travelling the length of the Karun River in Iran (resulting in the film 'Karun') and trekking along the peaks of the Balkans, in Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania.
Leon's latest book 'The Land Beyond: A Thousand Miles On Foot Through The Heart of the Middle East', was published by I.B. Tauris in September 2017 and documents his expedition experiences through Israel, Palestine, Jordan and the Sinai Peninsula. It resulted in a highly successful UK and US tour and was shortlisted for the Adventure Travel Book of the Year Award at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards 2018. Leon was also the 2017 recipient of the RGS's prestigious Neville Shulman Challenge Award. Leon has recently completed filming two documentaries, the first of which, How To Save A Tribe, launched on YouTube's Real Stories channel, whilst 'Dufferin: Adventures in High Latitudes' aired on BBC Two NI in November 2018. You can watch Leon's showreel here.
Amanda Owen is a shepherdess, farmer’s wife, mother to nine children, a passionate photographer and a Sunday Times bestselling author. Seen by millions on ITV's The Dales and Ben Fogle's New Lives In The Wild, Amanda and her family live a life that has almost gone in today's modern world, one ruled by the seasons and her animals. Home is Ravenseat, a 2000 acre hill farm at the head of Swaledale in North Yorkshire, one of the highest, most remote places in England.
Amanda's first book 'The Yorkshire Shepherdess' (Sidgwick & Jackson), was published in April 2014, offering an honest, inspiring account of her transformation from Huddersfield townie to rural sheep farmer. The paperback of her second book 'A Year In The Life Of The Yorkshire Shepherdess', published in spring 2017, headed straight to number 2 in the Sunday Times charts, spending 5 weeks in the top 10. Amanda has appeared as a regular contributor on ITV1's Countrywise, on BBC's Masterchef as a guest judge and as a panellist on R4's Museum of Curiosity. Amanda is set to write a monthly column for The Dalesman from January next year, having previously been a columnist for The Countryman and the Sunday Mirror. Amanda is currently writing her third book and a 2019 calendar of her photography is now available from Dalesman Publishing.
Amanda and her family are currently to be seen on Channel 5 in their very own documentary series, Our Yorkshire Farm, which attracted 1.8m viewers for its first episode. You can find out more about Amanda’s day-to-day family life and the joys and challenges of farming on her popular twitter feed @amandaowen8 and watch a clip of Amanda here.
Pip is an adventurer, writer, presenter and trained meditation instructor. A self-proclaimed hippy at heart, with a passion for health and wellbeing, Pip is a firm believer that connecting with people and the great outdoors is good for the soul. Pip studied History & Politics at Oxford University and subsequently lived and worked in Asia for five years as an anchor and reporter in Hong Kong and Malaysia, producing travel multimedia stories for the Telegraph, BBC, CNN and South China Morning Post, amongst others.
Pip’s journey back to Britain in 2013, to take up the role of Adventure Editor for Red Bull Online, was an epic year-long 10,000 mile biking trek, starting in Kuala Lumpur and taking in 26 countries. In 2016, Pip’s passion for travel took her on a 3000 mile cycle, boat and small plane journey exploring Brazil and Peru and raising awareness of the environmental issues in the region. From the mouth of the Amazon River in the Atlantic, finishing in Lima at the Pacific, Pip documented the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and its devastating effect on the local indigenous communities. The journey resulted in a six-part documentary series, ‘Transamazonica’, which aired globally. You can watch the trailer here. Earlier this year, Pip completed a major expedition canoeing the length of the Essequibo river in Guyana, from source to sea. A world first. Upon her return she was announced as Craghoppers' new ambassador and also fronted AIB's latest brand campaign. More recently she has also accompanied the Royal Marines on their Norway 75 expedition. In autumn 2018 Pip embarked on a major speaker tour with the RGS and RSGS sharing her experiences of the Amazon.
Levison Wood is an explorer, photographer, broadcaster and best-selling author. After studying History at Nottingham, Levison attended Sandhurst and served as an Officer in the British Parachute Regiment, including Operation Herrick 8 in Afghanistan. Levison’s journalism has taken him to Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, North and South Sudan, most of Sub-Saharan Africa, India, Nepal and South East Asia, with his resulting work featuring in the Times, Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and National Geographic, amongst others.
In late 2014, Levison completed a 9 month expedition walking the length of the Nile, which aired as a four-part series on Channel 4 and Animal Planet in spring 2015. This was followed by 'Walking The Himalayas' (5 x 60', C4) in 2016 and both 'Walking The Americas' and 'From Russia To Iran' (4 x 60', C4) in 2017. Lev's accompanying books 'Walking The Nile' and 'Walking The Americas' have been Sunday Times bestsellers, whilst 'Walking The Himalayas' was voted Adventure Travel Book of the Year at the Edward Stanford Awards. In spring 2017, Lev embarked on a sell-out 23 date theatre tour 'An Evening With Levison Wood' across the UK, followed by further dates in spring 2018. His fourth book 'Eastern Horizons', about his experiences hitchhiking from England to India as a 22 year-old, was published in November 2017 and also shortlisted for the Adventure Travel Book of the Year Award 2018.
Earlier this year, Lev returned from his latest expedition, a 5000 mile circumnavigation of the Arabian peninsula, taking in 13 countries from Iraq to Lebanon. His brand-new book Arabia: A Journey Through The Heart of the Middle East was published in the UK in November, accompanied by a major theatre tour, Journeys Through The Badlands & Beyond. Lev's 'Arabia' documentary series is currently in post-production for TX 2019. More details to be announced in the new year. You can watch a short taster for the series here.