There are very few things on the box that Dan and I will agree on watching together. We are stuck in a black hole of ‘must see’ golfing re-runs when the PGA tour is having a rest day, or playing catch up with Eastenders- justifying Dot Cotton’s presence in our living room every few minutes.
Sofa Time is precious, and TV is our high five for getting both of the kids off to the land of Nod.
It is therefore a rare thing to discover a series which appeals to the both of us, equally. No negotiating needed. It is rarer still for a series to prompt us to actually engage in conversation past 9pm. Jack Bower used to take the gold for that. And mostly because I needed the plot translated into novice-24 lingo.
And then we discovered ‘Extreme World’.
A program so shockingly gritty, so real and so goddamn ‘ard that we were hooked. Ross Kemp is what I’d politely describe as a ‘straight talker’… He makes Grant Mitchell look like Milhouse, y’know- Bart’s mate.
What makes this gripping TV stand out from the rest is the bravery of this team to travel to some of the most dangerous places on earth. Treading a fine line between life and death, Kemp never fails to break into the heart of whatever abomination he is exposing.
Jamie Welham, Extreme World Producer, international hard hitting journalist and owner of a passport with some seriously impressive visas, agreed to share his thoughts with me on this hotly anticipated final series:
“It’s been a real privilege working on such an ambitious and wide reaching series. The team continuously manage to get access to people and places others can’t, to shine a light on some of the world’s most urgent and underreported issues.
My personal highlight was travelling to the Sahara desert to document the brutal migrant journey across Libya – a situation that desperately needed to be brought to wider attention and with a humanity that has been lacking.
At a time when the world seems to be becoming more inward looking and scared of people from different cultures, I think foreign reportage like Extreme World has never been more important and necessary.
It’s a real shame it’s come to an end.”
I would love to know just how Welham manages to contact and, what’s more, pursusade the underbelly of the world to divulge dangerous, often gruesome and usually incriminating truths. It is undoubtedly this access that leaves me utterly captivated.
True hard-man stripes were awarded having been held at gun point in Papua New Guinea in 2014 by proper thug-life guerrillas. Instead of wetting himself and running away like the majority of the population might have done, the cameras continued to roll.
His distinctive husk came out with:
“Are you gonna kill me? No one’s gonna f*****g kill me!”
We believed him.
Thankfully so did the mob carrying the AK47’s.
We fought back the tears as we watched ‘Libya’s Migrant Hell’, a one off aired late last year and Welham’s Extreme World highlight. We had read and watched various updates on the migrant crisis, fed to us by the mainstream media; only death rates and percentages seem to sell papers. What the team from Extreme World did, and always do, was trace this global problem back to the source. Exposing humanity in it’s most desperate, and dangerous of states. It was completely captivating and led me to write this.
Just when you think Kemp has interviewed his last sickening criminal, the viewers are slapped around the face with a trump card. The human traffiker who admitted killing 400, or maybe 500 girls (he couldn’t remember) having taken and sold over 7000 girls, some as young as 12 is without doubt the worst, most shocking revelation the Extreme World team have ever uncovered. Kemp and his translator were left speechless, understandably shaken by this monster’s disclouse.
It is this depth of reporting, and this insight into the murkiest of worlds that raises awareness by getting these issues into our front rooms.
It’s easy to forget as we rush about on the school run and supermarket sweep the hell out of Asda, that we do live in an extreme world. There is nothing else on the telly box which gets to the heart of the matter, nothing else picks off the scabs of society quite like the team at ‘Extreme World’ do.
So they’ll be no fighting over the remote in our house this Sunday evening; We’ll be on Sky 1 at 9pm a hot choc and custard cream in hand as Kemp takes on Texas and the much feared Ku Klux Klan in the hugely anticipated 6th and final series of Extreme World. Set Poldark to record: there’s a new hero in town.
Extreme World airs Sunday 9pm Sky 1
With special thanks to Jamie Welham: You can follow Jamie’s adventures on twitter @jamiewelham