Madagascar World's Most Dangerous Roads


Madagascar

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'There are over five billion kilometres of roads on the planet.

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'Now, even the most inaccessible places can be reached by car.

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Oh, God!

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'Over high mountain passes.'

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Confront your fear.

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'Across vast lunar landscapes.'

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This is mad! Oh, my God!

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'And along bone-shaking jungle tracks.'

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Oh, God.

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Slowing down would be complete madness.

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'These roads may be seen as a sign of progress,

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'but driving them requires skill...'

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What would happen if the wheel came off the edge?

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'..Stamina...'

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-Look, there's a cross there.

-Yeah!

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'..And a steady nerve.'

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That was the most frightening thing I've ever done in my life.

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I might burst into tears now.

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'Madagascar, known for its forests, its beaches, its lemurs

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'and some of the worst roads in the world.'

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-Road, bad or good?

-Bad, bad, bad!

-Bad, bad, bad? That's very bad.

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OK, Angus, we are actually in the middle of a river.

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'Journalist Mariella Frostrup and actor Angus Deayton

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'have known each other for over 20 years.'

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Come on, Angus, we can do it!

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'But they've never travelled alone together.'

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Every morning, a perfect shirt.

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It's making me want to dip my hand deep into a clump of mud

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and rub it all over him.

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Very noble of you.

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I can't hear you anymore and it's bliss.

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'Both have been round the world.'

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SHE SCREAMS

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'But neither has attempted a journey as arduous as this.'

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A sea of mud, the like of which I hope

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I never see again in my life.

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'They're attempting to drive from the capital Antananarivo

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'to the remote North West corner of the island,

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'one of the most bio-diverse places on earth.'

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God, that's a long way down.

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'Their route is so challenging that few tourists even attempt it.'

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Bit fast, Angus!

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We're going to just have to go for it, I'm afraid.

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'They'll risk dilapidated ferries.'

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-Did you give him duff fuel?

-Probably.

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'And gamble on flimsy bridges.'

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-Oh, Christ!

-Oh, blimey!

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'300 kilometres along one of the most atrocious roads in the world.'

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We're stuck in the middle of nowhere, we can't escape,

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the bridge is broken, I don't know how to impress upon you,

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the absolute crisis that we're in.

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'Angus has arrived in Madagascar a day before Mariella.'

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Tina, hi, Angus.

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-Nice to meet you, sir.

-And you.

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'He's meeting a local driver called Tina who's showing him the ropes.'

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The bad roads?

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Yes. Sandy roads, muddy roads, water.

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I'd like to think I was quite gung-ho about things but

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unfortunately I'm not. I'm something of a wuss when it comes to danger.

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Well, those are obviously the gears but there are two gear sticks.

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-Four wheel drive, great.

-Have a nice trip.

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Thank you very much, Tina.

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Can't remember a word of what he said now.

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Right, I'm going to go for it.

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We're on our way to the airport to pick up esteemed broadcaster

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and Forces sweetheart Mariella Frostrup.

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'Madagascar is the fourth biggest island on the planet.

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'In 1897, it was colonized by the French

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'who built a network of roads across the country.

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'After independence in 1960, political turmoil

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'and a lack of money meant that the roads were left to crumble.'

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This looks pretty much like the airport.

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-Hello!

-Of all the places.

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-I know.

-That we thought we'd...

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I've been on holiday with Mariella before.

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In fact, my son described her as being

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the scariest non-fictional person he'd ever come across.

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So obviously, she's sort of up there with Voldemort and Cruella de Vil.

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Nice car, have you driven it yet?

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Er, well, I was going to say I was completely on top of things,

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but I can't actually even open it.

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I wanted to do this trip with Angus because he's not that macho.

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I thought he might make me look really brave and a great driver.

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Do you want me to drive first or...?

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I think that would be the gentlemanly thing to do.

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She can be quite bossy and she can be quite assertive

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but fortunately, I'm incredibly meek and accommodating

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so she'll just tell me what to do and I'll do it.

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Are you on the right side of the road, by the way?

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Umm, well, we'll soon find out.

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'The next week will be intense and a true test of their friendship,

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'but it's also a week away from their respective partners

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'Lisa and Jason.'

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Oh, that's a nice name for a packet of biscuits, isn't it? Gouty.

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You know that Lisa has a whole drawer full of rude foods.

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Shall we add it to her list? Do you think I should text her?

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Not very rude, is it, Gouty?

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OK, so I'm not as funny as Lisa.

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Is it going to be like this all the way? Lisa, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa!

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Jason said to me,

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"Don't go anywhere with that Angus Deayton, you'll regret it."

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'Angus and Mariella have just six days to drive the only road

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'between port of Toamasina and the gateway to

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'the Masoloa National Park,

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'the town of Maroantsetra, 300 kilometres to the north.

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'Most tourists choose to fly, but the locals have little choice

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'but to travel by open boat up the coast or use the road.'

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The thing is, you can't really get up any speed

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because you never know when the next pothole is going to turn up.

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I thought it was better, but it's not.

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No, not really. Good Lord!

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'They're heading north

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'on a road built by the French in colonial times

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'to get at the valuable timber, vanilla and cloves that grow here.'

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HE LAUGHS

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'50 years ago, the 300-kilometre journey could be done in a day.

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'Now, because the road is in such a state, it can take a week.'

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OK, I have some very bad news here. This little town is the end

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of the tarred road and then it says,

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"Continue north if you dare."

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'Their first overnight stop is the frontier town of Sonierana Ivongo.

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'Before finding their accommodation

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'they have to stock up on some essentials.'

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We've got to buy some petrol

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because, apparently, that's how you pay the ferry men.

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'The route will take them across countless rivers

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'and they'll have to risk it on some seriously dodgy ferries.

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'Some boats don't even have fuel, so they'll need to bring their own.'

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I'll keep my eyes peeled for a petrol station.

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A petrol station,

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although it doesn't feel like you're about to bump into a...

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A petrol station, no.

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-Oh, there's the petrol station.

-Yes, of course it is.

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Where is the petrol?

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There don't seem to be any petrol pumps of any sort.

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It's in these bottles here.

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Oh, really? We need more than that, we need...

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Is that 20 litres?

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Is that 30,000? It can't be 300,000, can it?

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-Have you got 300?

-No, it can't be 300? 60?

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OK, so he said 300,000 and you gave him 60,000.

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Yeah, I dunno. I gave him what I had!

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-Where shall we put it?

-Well, I'm not putting it inside the car.

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Oh, look, there's room up there. I can get it in there.

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You go up, put it down. Let me see if I can lift it.

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Can you lift it?

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Oooh, I can't lift it any higher than that.

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How am I going to get it up to you?

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Can you reach that far?

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SHE GRUNTS

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-Have you got it?

-No.

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Let me put my hand underneath it, have you got it?

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Yep, got it now. Thank you.

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OK? I think so, yeah.

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Don't tie it with a bow, Angus, OK?

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But it looks so nice with a bow!

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Yeah, this'll be no problem at all.

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Grab that there.

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'Sensing what lies ahead,

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'both Angus and Mariella opt for an early night.'

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As you can see, I'm in room 12.

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The first welcome I got was from this slightly strange being,

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not sure what it is.

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There's some plastic flowers there

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and a mosquito net with something on it.

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I'm just going to show you the secrets of a perfect camp bed.

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It is...ta-dah!

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My lavender oil, sprinkled liberally all over the pillow.

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An end to all the stinky, stinky, olfactory assaults

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that have been going on during the day.

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This is the en-suite shower room which, as you can see,

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has a cold shower.

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And this is the loo, which is flushed thusly.

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TOILET FLUSHES

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So that is my world for tonight. Welcome to it.

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'The next morning, they're up before dawn

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'and they're on the lookout for the ferry.'

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Blimey.

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We're sort of looking for the sign "delicious breakfasts", aren't we?

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Yeah, and ferry, aren't we?

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Is this where we're going, straight down?

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I have no idea. Yeah, we are.

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'In better times, this whole route had a good network of ferries

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'that were free for everyone.

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'Now it's not just the lack of fuel that's the problem -

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'few of these boats have seen any proper maintenance for years.'

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Angus, don't forget the bit round your ears.

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I think it's important to keep up standards.

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ENGINE STARTS

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'Fortunately, this ferry seems to have fuel.

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'It's still free to travel by foot

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'and the people depend on these ferries.

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'The only other way across is by dugout canoe.'

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I got a smile. I didn't get a wave, but I got a smile.

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'This tranquil river crossing marks the end

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'of the easy roads and the start of the real driving challenge ahead.'

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OK, good luck.

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Excellent. Good grief.

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Good start.

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See, I think it should've been in diff, that's my personal...

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I think you need to go to the left a bit.

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ENGINE STARTS

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HE SHOUTS IN FRENCH

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Try following the tyre marks over there,

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-that seems to be where everyone else has gone.

-Over there?

-Yeah.

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ENGINE REVS

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Yes!

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Sensational driving. Well done.

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'They've been advised that seatbelts aren't always beneficial

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'for these conditions.

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We need to watch the speed, we mustn't be too cavalier.

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I'm doing seven miles an hour.

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We could maybe settle on six.

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'Today, they're hoping to travel 70 kilometres up the coast

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'to the town of Antanambe.'

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You have no idea how deep these pools are.

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'This part of the world can get over 400mm of rain every month.

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'London gets 600 a year.

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'They're travelling over flat sandy ground now

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'but things will get a lot more difficult in the mountains ahead.'

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It worries me that tomorrow's going to be quite a bit worse.

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At least the landscape's starting to be a bit more interesting ahead.

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We'll be driving up into those mountains.

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Yes, so I should be less enthusiastic, you're saying?

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This is a bit of a village. Is no-one up?

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I think they had a good night. Look, it's very closed.

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While we were tucked up in our glamorous accommodation.

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-Yes, how was yours?

-I managed to make it very cosy.

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-How did you do that?

-Lavender drops on the pillow case.

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You bought lavender drops from London?

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I take lavender drops with me everywhere.

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I'm not that keen on lavender as a smell.

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-You're not?

-No, it reminds me of aunts.

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I think there's something about your childhood

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that you're not telling me.

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Did you have terrible experiences at the hands of blue-rinse relatives?

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No, I like my aunts. I just don't want to smell like them.

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SHE LAUGHS That's fair enough.

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-Oh, it's ferry time.

-Oh, we on a ferry again?

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I'm going to put it into diff here

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because you know what our last ferry experience was like.

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Oh, Christ. Oh, blimey.

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HE LAUGHS

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Excellent.

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What have I got to cope with here, Angus?

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It'll be pretty similar to last time.

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No, that's much better.

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-There's almost what you'd describe as a road in front of you.

-Almost.

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And a sign saying "hotel". Blimey, it's civilisation.

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-Well, I'm sorry.

-Simply...

-Textbook.

-..Genius.

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And look, cars waiting to go back and everything and people.

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-People. Real, live people.

-Yeah.

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'Madagascar is a very poor country.

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'70% of its 40 million people exist on just 1 a day.

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'And only three people in every 1,000 own a car.

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'Its natural beauty, however, is one of its most valuable assets

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'and hundreds of thousands of tourists are attracted

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'to its shores every year.'

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Well, this is like something out of a brochure, isn't it?

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-Palm fringed beaches.

-Very, very pretty. Tropical.

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61, I think that said. Salut!

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61.

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Yes, well, if we continue to cane it like this,

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then I would imagine we're going to be there in no time.

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Jesus!

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A little bit pacier, perhaps, on the rocks.

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I dunno why you're dawdling.

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'The road to Maroantsetra involves another 15 ferry crossings.'

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Where's the ferry?

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Good question, Angus. Where have you put it?

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'And as they'll discover, many have their own makeshift charm.'

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It was supposed to be here.

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THEY SPEAK FRENCH

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OK, so the good news is that there is a ferry.

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The bad news is that it's over there, on the other side.

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And the even worse news is that it doesn't have any petrol.

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In addition, they don't have any battery.

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So we've got to take a car battery and some petrol across there

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to get the ferry to come back here.

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Yeah, complicated. But we'll get there in the end.

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Bye. Very noble of you.

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Well, I thought so.

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SHE SPEAKS INDISTINCTLY

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I can't hear you any more and it's bliss.

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It's lovely, it's lovely.

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I'm having a great time, it's all been very good so far.

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The company, I really couldn't fault.

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Mariella's been the perfect travelling companion in every way.

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Just waiting for the tide to go out. And it's not going to.

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So I'm going to have to wade through it anyway.

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-Bonjour.

-Bonjour.

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We've got 20 litres here and we don't really want to give him

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all 20 because we need it for...

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Ten litres, that's half. We need Mariella.

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You see, she's good at negotiating.

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I just say, "Yes, please, help yourself."

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ENGINE STARTS

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Job done.

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-You know what I did think, which is to your credit?

-What?

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Faster rowing across than you were coming back on the ferry.

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That's because I managed to tack across.

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Managed to tack, is that what you call it?

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I think it's called over-steering. He's very good, though.

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I'll do the driving now.

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'They've already lost hours at this river crossing

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'and they've not yet reached the other side.

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ENGINE SPUTTERS AND DIES

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HE SPEAKS FRENCH

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What's happened? Has it broken down?

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Did you give him duff fuel?

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Probably.

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ENGINE TRIES TO START

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Which ones of us is going to decide when to panic?

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Is there any need to panic? I mean, we're almost at the shore now.

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Just allow it to drift calmly into position.

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But you can't position it, can you, smarty pants,

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if you haven't got an engine?

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We may be stuck here for the rest of the night

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and most of tomorrow morning, unless we can get off.

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I don't know which I'm more afraid of,

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crashing in the ferry or driving for 3.5 hours in the pitch dark

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on the sort of roads we've spent the day on.

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I think you're being slightly melodramatic.

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I mean, by the way he's whistling,

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it seems like this happens every day.

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Have you never heard of affecting a nonchalant air?

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'Eventually, some Malagasy ingenuity gets them safely to shore.'

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-Brilliant! Disaster averted.

-Just about.

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SHOUTING IN FRENCH

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ENGINE STARTS

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This is almost paved. It can't last.

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-Someone's slipped up somewhere.

-Yeah, just round here.

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Oh, Angus, I don't know about that.

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Fun in the dark, won't it?

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HE LAUGHS

0:21:580:21:59

Oh, my God!

0:21:590:22:01

Remember, tomorrow's going to be worse.

0:22:020:22:04

-No, tomorrow's the bad day.

-Yeah.

0:22:040:22:06

'It's already beginning to get dark,

0:22:080:22:10

'so Angus and Mariella distract themselves with a game.'

0:22:100:22:14

OK, so start me off.

0:22:140:22:17

Boris Johnson, Ken Livingstone, Gordon Brown.

0:22:170:22:22

-Oh, that is so easy.

-Oh, really?

0:22:220:22:25

Yeah, I'd shag Boris Johnson.

0:22:250:22:28

The way I'm thinking about it, if you want to know, is

0:22:280:22:31

Boris, good for a laugh.

0:22:310:22:33

OK. And there's nothing sexier really than a laugh.

0:22:330:22:37

Quite frankly, all that lovely blonde hair.

0:22:370:22:39

I think he'd be fun for a night,

0:22:390:22:41

but I think you'd tire of him quite quickly.

0:22:410:22:44

Quite quickly. OK. Marry, Gordon Brown or Ken Livingstone?

0:22:440:22:48

Oh, my! Water, Angus, could be a ferry.

0:22:480:22:51

That may have saved you from having to choose between...

0:22:510:22:55

It's now 6.00 in the evening, and I think we're still a couple of hours

0:22:570:23:02

away from where we're staying tonight.

0:23:020:23:04

And the road has definitely got a lot rougher.

0:23:040:23:07

That last bit, that muddy bit with the rocks and things,

0:23:070:23:10

that was quite scary but you have to get over that.

0:23:100:23:14

Because I think, if you don't go ahead and do it,

0:23:140:23:17

then you end up being terrified all the time

0:23:170:23:19

and that's not really going to work on this journey.

0:23:190:23:22

Martina Navratilova.

0:23:240:23:26

Oh, my dear God, yes?

0:23:260:23:28

Germaine Greer or Ann Widdecombe?

0:23:280:23:31

Please don't say Ann Widdecombe.

0:23:310:23:33

I knew you were going to say Ann Widdecombe.

0:23:330:23:36

Sharon Stone, Rachel Weisz and January Jones.

0:23:360:23:41

Hang on, the rules of the game have changed rather dramatically!

0:23:410:23:44

'Today is reputed to be the hardest leg of the journey

0:23:500:23:53

'and Angus has dressed accordingly.'

0:23:530:23:56

Every morning, perfect shirt, perfectly...

0:23:560:23:59

I mean, his mum must be so proud of him.

0:23:590:24:02

It's making me want to dip my hand deep into a clump of mud

0:24:020:24:06

and rub it all over him.

0:24:060:24:09

Have we got tissues, Angus, and have we got wipes?

0:24:090:24:13

And is that your orange from today or yesterday?

0:24:130:24:16

You're beginning to sound like my mother.

0:24:160:24:19

I may be sounding like your mother, but look at you.

0:24:190:24:21

Yes, and have I got a handkerchief and have I combed my hair.

0:24:210:24:25

I'm not the one walking round in an ironed white shirt

0:24:250:24:28

for possibly the worst day on the road.

0:24:280:24:30

'Right from the off, the road shows no mercy.'

0:24:320:24:36

-Oh, it's started.

-It's started already.

0:24:360:24:39

'Today, the route is more mountainous and they're

0:24:390:24:42

'immediately faced with steep rocky slopes and thick glutinous mud.'

0:24:420:24:46

Hold tight.

0:24:460:24:47

I'm just going for it

0:24:490:24:51

because I think slowing down would be an act of complete madness.

0:24:510:24:56

What? As opposed to this?

0:24:560:24:58

Could you imagine how it would revolutionize this country

0:25:010:25:05

if someone invested in the infrastructure?

0:25:050:25:08

It's ridiculous.

0:25:080:25:10

How do people survive? Hospital, your child is dangerously ill...

0:25:100:25:14

I mean, yeah, the emergency services can't really get to

0:25:140:25:17

anyone in less than half a day.

0:25:170:25:19

I'm not even sure there are any.

0:25:190:25:21

'It's only 7.30 in the morning and already they're at

0:25:220:25:25

'their first river crossing.'

0:25:250:25:27

Look, they have to pull it backwards and forwards.

0:25:270:25:30

Well, that saves on the petrol.

0:25:300:25:32

Maybe we don't have to give them our battery today.

0:25:320:25:36

ENGINE STARTS

0:25:360:25:38

Alley-up!

0:25:410:25:42

'The ferry is packed with locals going about their business.

0:25:440:25:48

-You speak English, yes?

-Yes.

0:25:480:25:50

Can you tell me how the road is ahead? Bad or good?

0:25:500:25:54

-Good or bad?

-Bad, bad, bad, yes.

0:25:540:25:57

-Bad, bad, bad, that's very bad.

-Yes.

0:25:570:26:00

-Is it steep?

-Yes, he just went like that.

0:26:000:26:03

You live here?

0:26:030:26:05

No, no live. I live Tutamatave.

0:26:050:26:07

Ah, OK, so you're travelling.

0:26:070:26:10

Yes, I buy vanilla.

0:26:100:26:12

Ah, you buy vanilla.

0:26:120:26:14

When you come back?

0:26:140:26:15

When will we get there? That's the question.

0:26:150:26:19

Two very good questions.

0:26:190:26:22

THEY LAUGH

0:26:220:26:24

-We don't know the answer to either of them.

-Sadly.

0:26:240:26:26

'Madagascar is the world's leading producer of vanilla.

0:26:290:26:33

'But the roads to the plantations are appalling.'

0:26:330:26:36

CAR RATTLES

0:26:360:26:38

'Angus and Mariella have just 46km to travel today,

0:26:380:26:42

'but this road is so tough that nothing is guaranteed.

0:26:420:26:46

-Oh, Jesus!

-Oh, gosh.

0:26:490:26:51

Oh, mind this other car.

0:27:000:27:03

Yeah.

0:27:030:27:04

Well done, well done. My God, look at your window!

0:27:070:27:10

HE LAUGHS

0:27:100:27:12

I'm shaking! Wow, that was scary, exhausting...

0:27:120:27:16

-Yeah, you did very well.

-..And difficult, actually.

0:27:160:27:20

'Incredibly, this is the only road connecting Toamasina

0:27:200:27:23

'with two major towns, and the people travel by foot,

0:27:230:27:28

'bicycle and the local public transport known as taxi brousse.'

0:27:280:27:31

They don't have to run. Why are they running?

0:27:380:27:40

Maybe they're running to get to the bit where I'll badly

0:27:400:27:43

need their help, that's what I suspect.

0:27:430:27:45

They're running ahead because they know there's a really

0:27:450:27:48

precipitous drop and that's where they get the biggest laughs.

0:27:480:27:52

Or we'll have to pay them to dig us out. They're laughing.

0:27:540:27:57

There's more of them coming,

0:27:570:27:59

there's definitely something happening down here.

0:27:590:28:02

'A vital concrete bridge has been severely damaged

0:28:100:28:12

'during the rainy season.

0:28:120:28:14

'The locals have cobbled together an alternative way of getting across.

0:28:160:28:21

But it's not for the faint-hearted.

0:28:250:28:27

Yeah, the worst bit is that mud at the end, to be honest.

0:28:320:28:36

Oh, they're moving rocks in the river now as well.

0:28:360:28:40

Look how deep it is.

0:28:400:28:42

There's just no margin for error here, really.

0:28:420:28:45

Yeah, it's very scenic, though.

0:28:480:28:50

I might just wait up here and take photographs of you.

0:28:500:28:53

What do you think?

0:28:530:28:55

I think it's scary as hell.

0:28:550:28:57

You're the one that's going to be driving.

0:28:570:29:00

I think it's really difficult.

0:29:010:29:03

Let's get it over with.

0:29:110:29:13

Fabulous. I've never driven into a river before.

0:29:160:29:19

It feels rather peculiar to be doing it willingly.

0:29:190:29:23

Blimey, you've got it down to a fine art.

0:29:260:29:29

OK, Angus, we are actually travelling across a river.

0:29:330:29:37

Now this guy takes over.

0:29:410:29:42

Left a bit.

0:29:500:29:51

OK?

0:29:580:29:59

Mora mora! >

0:29:590:30:01

Slowly, slowly. Softly, softly.

0:30:010:30:03

No, no, no, he means...

0:30:030:30:05

Come on, Angus, we can do it!

0:30:130:30:15

ENGINE REVS

0:30:150:30:17

Come on. Come on.

0:30:180:30:21

Oh, my good God!

0:30:210:30:24

That was the most frightening thing I've ever done in my life.

0:30:240:30:27

I might burst into tears now.

0:30:270:30:29

Yes, do, feel free, you deserve it, well done.

0:30:290:30:32

HE LAUGHS

0:30:320:30:35

You have just crossed a river in a car.

0:30:350:30:39

And just for your information, "mora mora" means "softly, softly",

0:30:390:30:42

not "go as fast as you possibly can!"

0:30:420:30:44

No, for the last bit they said,

0:30:440:30:46

"Go as fast as you can because, otherwise, you won't get up the mud."

0:30:460:30:49

-I see mud on the dashboard. No surprise.

-It's all over me.

0:30:490:30:52

See, not a spot on you, not a spot, not even a splash of mud.

0:30:520:30:57

Oh, for God's sake! Look at the state of my trousers, I'm covered in it.

0:30:570:31:01

Hmm. Well... That speaks volumes, quite frankly.

0:31:010:31:05

'Angus and Mariella are trying to drive between Antanambe and Mananara,

0:31:060:31:11

'but four hours in, they've only covered a fraction of the distance.

0:31:110:31:15

'The dreadful road has at least meant one thing -

0:31:200:31:23

'that this remote and beautiful coastline has remained unspoiled.'

0:31:230:31:27

Nice ocean views.

0:31:300:31:32

Yes, which I'll be enjoying.

0:31:320:31:35

God, it's a long way down.

0:31:360:31:38

This is spectacularly scenic but at the same time terrifying.

0:31:380:31:42

Terrifyingly dangerous, yep. This is a tight corner.

0:31:420:31:46

Please turn the wheel.

0:31:460:31:48

I am, but if I turn it too fast, I'll be all over the place.

0:31:480:31:52

La-la-la! Quite near the edge there.

0:31:530:31:56

'This coast is regularly lashed by devastating storms,

0:31:580:32:02

'and in February 2012

0:32:020:32:04

'Madagascar took a direct hit from cyclone Giovanna.

0:32:040:32:07

'Winds of over 170mph killed 33 people

0:32:100:32:14

'and just added to the devastation of the roads

0:32:140:32:18

'on this exposed eastern coast.'

0:32:180:32:20

TYRES SPIN

0:32:280:32:30

Neither backwards nor forwards.

0:32:320:32:34

-I think, Angus...

-I think we are.

-..Stuck.

0:32:390:32:43

It's funny because all four tyres are actually on...

0:32:460:32:49

We're stuck on that rock.

0:32:490:32:51

I think it needs to be lifted up.

0:32:510:32:53

Yeah, I know, but how do you lift up a 4x4?

0:32:530:32:56

We need a piece of wood or something to put under the tyre

0:32:590:33:03

to elevate it above the rock.

0:33:030:33:07

No, no, no, at the front.

0:33:070:33:09

Well, I can't go forwards.

0:33:090:33:10

It'll help you go, it'll help you get traction on it.

0:33:100:33:13

I don't think it'll go forwards.

0:33:130:33:15

TYRES SPIN

0:33:220:33:24

No?

0:33:300:33:31

Oh, dear, Angus, the worst has happened.

0:33:310:33:35

I know.

0:33:350:33:36

Look at your shirt sleeve. Look at your shirt sleeve.

0:33:360:33:40

Yes, please, any help.

0:33:450:33:48

I've never been so glad to see a man in my life.

0:33:480:33:51

So, Angus, is the plan to lift it up and then

0:33:530:33:56

when it's up high enough, put the wood underneath the tyre?

0:33:560:34:00

I'm assuming so.

0:34:000:34:01

THEY SPEAK FRENCH

0:34:010:34:03

This is turning into quite a long day.

0:34:030:34:05

Merci beaucoup! C'est tres gentile!

0:34:140:34:17

Thank God those guys were around. What would we have done?

0:34:210:34:24

Well, we would've just had to wait.

0:34:240:34:26

We've done 3.5 kilometres.

0:34:260:34:29

Is it? Oh, excellent going.

0:34:290:34:31

And it's 11.30. We've been on the road for...

0:34:310:34:34

-Six, seven, eight...

-5.5 hours.

0:34:340:34:37

5.5 hours. We have 36 kilometres still to go to Mananara.

0:34:370:34:42

'They're now way behind schedule

0:34:450:34:46

'and desperately need to cover some ground.'

0:34:460:34:49

THE CAR RATTLES

0:34:530:34:56

SHE MOANS

0:34:560:34:59

I have to say, I had no idea the road would be quite this bad.

0:35:030:35:07

Be really careful on my side, there's quite a big drop

0:35:070:35:10

so stay in the tread.

0:35:100:35:11

I will never again complain about the condition of the roads

0:35:170:35:20

in central London.

0:35:200:35:22

-No, shower me in potholes.

-Give me speed traps, bus lanes.

0:35:220:35:27

Oh, my God.

0:35:340:35:37

'They're just halfway to Mananara, but the road is unrelenting.'

0:35:470:35:52

It's exhausting, it's exhausting watching you.

0:35:540:35:57

Oh, my God, Angus. I've got to just go for it here.

0:35:590:36:05

Come on. Now we're done for.

0:36:100:36:14

THE TYRES SPIN

0:36:140:36:17

-Felt it.

-Shit!

0:36:180:36:20

'It's not just Angus and Mariella that are struggling.

0:36:220:36:24

'Even the locals are also getting bogged down.

0:36:270:36:30

'One of the taxi brousse passengers speaks English.'

0:36:340:36:38

Where are you going? Why are you driving this road?

0:36:390:36:43

Because we have work at Tamatave,

0:36:430:36:48

so me and my team are going to Tamatave.

0:36:480:36:52

These roads must drive you crazy.

0:36:540:36:56

-Yeah.

-HE CHUCKLES

0:36:560:36:58

We're trying to go to Mananara, have you just come from there?

0:36:580:37:02

-Yes.

-How's the road? Because we're having a lot of problems.

0:37:020:37:05

It's very hard, I think.

0:37:050:37:07

It's hard because the season now is not very good to travel to Mananara.

0:37:070:37:13

And from now, from here to Mananara, is it as bad as this

0:37:130:37:18

or does it get a bit better?

0:37:180:37:20

Please say it gets a bit better, please.

0:37:200:37:22

You have one road left, it's very hard.

0:37:220:37:27

But like this or worse?

0:37:270:37:29

More difficult than this. More difficult, but only one.

0:37:290:37:34

THEY LAUGH

0:37:340:37:36

-Yes.

-How long?

0:37:360:37:38

An hour, about 15 kilometres from here.

0:37:380:37:42

Very nice to meet you. Good luck on your journey.

0:37:420:37:46

Well, I don't know - is that good news, bad news?

0:37:470:37:50

-Mainly bad.

-Mainly bad.

0:37:500:37:52

'They have one major obstacle still to overcome,

0:37:550:37:57

'but the recent rain has made every inch of this road treacherous.'

0:37:570:38:02

ENGINE REVS

0:38:050:38:07

Very nice.

0:38:070:38:09

GEARS CREAK

0:38:090:38:11

ENGINE REVS

0:38:170:38:19

We're just digging deeper in the same hole, seriously.

0:38:260:38:31

Got to attempt to do something.

0:38:310:38:32

Yes, I think the sheer volume of mud is the problem.

0:38:370:38:41

Oh, my God.

0:38:410:38:43

ENGINE REVS

0:38:510:38:53

In between feeling sorry for myself and Angus,

0:38:560:38:59

I just can't work out how people manage this every day of their lives.

0:38:590:39:04

You know, I'll never complain about a motorway again.

0:39:040:39:08

Look at it flooding back down, amazing.

0:39:160:39:20

'In the last of the day's light,

0:39:350:39:38

'they eventually limp in to Mananara.'

0:39:380:39:41

Holy shit!

0:39:410:39:42

You know, television is often about pretending,

0:39:480:39:51

but this is definitely not pretending. It's really scary.

0:39:510:39:54

That road doesn't deserve to be called a road,

0:39:540:39:57

it is a river bed at best, and a sea of mud,

0:39:570:40:01

the like of which I hope I never see again in my life.

0:40:010:40:05

So here we are at Mananara, we arrived last night as darkness fell.

0:40:090:40:14

And found this thriving town of 10,000 people,

0:40:140:40:17

which felt kind of odd given the extraordinary terrain

0:40:170:40:22

that we'd managed to traverse in order to get here.

0:40:220:40:25

An odd day, really, and one that I'd be quite keen never to relive.

0:40:250:40:30

'Mananara is a bustling trading hub for the surrounding population.

0:40:300:40:35

'Cloves, cinnamon, lychees,

0:40:350:40:37

'and a million other things are all bought and sold here.'

0:40:370:40:41

-Goes on forever, this market.

-God.

0:40:410:40:43

This is so busy, compared to where we've been.

0:40:430:40:47

There's people everywhere. I'm feeling a little bit fazed by it.

0:40:470:40:51

'They're on the final stage of their journey.

0:40:520:40:54

'Tonight, they hope to reach the town of Rantabe.

0:40:540:40:57

'Tomorrow, the final push to their ultimate destination Maroantsetra.'

0:40:570:41:03

This is lovely, isn't it? It'll be nice if it stays like this.

0:41:060:41:09

It's not going to, Angus, you know it's not.

0:41:090:41:12

-You've got a bit of a bridge coming up.

-Am I on it?

0:41:140:41:18

-Yep.

-Do you think?

0:41:180:41:20

Yep, you're OK. Good. Well done.

0:41:200:41:22

Gosh, two planks of wood you had to hit there.

0:41:240:41:27

-That was quite scary.

-And fortunately, I think you did.

0:41:270:41:30

Like on a bridge like that, if we missed those planks, we'd be dead.

0:41:300:41:37

Yes, so again, well done for hitting the planks.

0:41:370:41:41

No, but I'm just sorry, just now...

0:41:410:41:44

Realising the importance of accuracy of that situation.

0:41:440:41:48

Of hitting the planks, as it were.

0:41:480:41:50

Oh, look at this, it's a lovely beach.

0:42:010:42:05

Wow, this is a bit surreal, isn't it?

0:42:050:42:07

It's wild, look at it.

0:42:090:42:11

Beautiful.

0:42:110:42:13

What happens here, Angus?

0:42:150:42:17

I think this is the ferry.

0:42:170:42:19

What? Oh, my good God.

0:42:190:42:21

And there's two whole planks of wood to drive onto it.

0:42:210:42:24

That is crazy.

0:42:240:42:25

THEY BOTH LAUGH

0:42:260:42:29

-Well, it's different.

-Angus, I don't think I can do this.

0:42:300:42:33

'The bridge across this river was destroyed by the recent cyclone.

0:42:330:42:38

'Now the villagers earn a little cash

0:42:380:42:40

'by ferrying cars across on a bamboo raft.'

0:42:400:42:44

SHE FEIGNS SCREAMING

0:42:440:42:46

Mora mora. >

0:42:480:42:49

Mora mora. Where have we heard that before?

0:42:490:42:53

Stop!

0:42:550:42:56

My God, look at this. I think we're going to be punted.

0:43:010:43:03

-Are we?

-Yeah.

-Do we need to pay, by the way?

0:43:030:43:07

You'd think. We've got to pay a lot of people by the looks of it.

0:43:070:43:10

-Can't give them any petrol.

-You'll have to do the money, dear.

0:43:100:43:14

-Salut, merci. Au revoir!

-Au revoir.

0:43:230:43:26

Oh, my God! That was scary.

0:43:290:43:31

Actually, everything is. I'm going to stop saying it

0:43:310:43:33

because quite honestly...

0:43:330:43:34

There hasn't been anything that hasn't been.

0:43:340:43:36

It's the most repeated word in my vocabulary at the moment.

0:43:360:43:40

They really are quite enterprising, aren't they?

0:43:400:43:43

You know, the bridge collapses,

0:43:430:43:45

obviously no means of building a new one so they build a raft

0:43:450:43:49

-and charge...

-5,000 ariaries a time.

0:43:490:43:51

THE SHOUT A GREETING

0:44:000:44:02

Be amazing to come here and do something useful.

0:44:110:44:14

You know, like be a teacher or a doctor.

0:44:140:44:18

Yes, well that's what we did originally, of course,

0:44:180:44:22

when we sent the missionaries.

0:44:220:44:24

Yeah, but without meaning to convert people at the same time.

0:44:240:44:29

Yes, well, I think we did a certain amount of good,

0:44:290:44:32

then the French took over.

0:44:320:44:34

Obviously brought a lot of money into the place

0:44:340:44:36

and it's, in a way, it's that money they're missing now.

0:44:360:44:39

It's just a question of whether they'd prefer to have

0:44:390:44:42

the money again or their independence.

0:44:420:44:45

Bit fast, Angus!

0:44:530:44:55

Just going to have to go for it, I'm afraid. No time to stop.

0:44:550:44:58

'They're in a different region now

0:45:160:45:17

'where there's a long-established Chinese community.

0:45:170:45:21

'Originally, they were here to build a railway,

0:45:210:45:24

'but their influence is everywhere.'

0:45:240:45:25

Kind of a little bit incongruous eating Chinese in a little village

0:45:250:45:29

in the middle of Madagascar,

0:45:290:45:31

and quite interesting to see so many Chinese around.

0:45:310:45:34

Chinese faces, more and more as we get closer to Rantabe,

0:45:340:45:37

where we're supposed to be spending tonight.

0:45:370:45:39

Goodness, that's tough!

0:45:390:45:41

Where's the dog? Oh, here's the dog, there you go.

0:45:410:45:44

-Shall we see the wine list?

-Give it a shot.

0:45:440:45:47

Garcon!

0:45:470:45:49

'Still on schedule, the road leads them to a stunning beach

0:45:530:45:57

'that appears to be deserted.'

0:45:570:45:59

Do you feel as if something's suddenly happening here?

0:46:210:46:24

Because we were alone when we arrived

0:46:240:46:27

and now there's about six cars, about 45 people,

0:46:270:46:31

because it's rush hour.

0:46:310:46:33

Yeah.

0:46:330:46:34

That is insane, and they all get into the back bit.

0:46:340:46:37

It is a triumph of numbers over reason.

0:46:370:46:40

I think that's what you'd say.

0:46:400:46:41

'In the confusion, they seem to have lost their place in the queue but

0:46:410:46:46

'it gives them a chance to chat

0:46:460:46:47

'with one of many taxi brousse passengers.'

0:46:470:46:50

20 people inside this.

0:46:510:46:53

It must be like hell.

0:46:530:46:55

No, because I enjoy it.

0:46:550:46:57

-Do you?!

-Yeah.

0:46:570:46:59

You like the ride because everyone's talking to each other?

0:46:590:47:02

Everyone is talking to each other

0:47:020:47:04

and the atmosphere is so alive, you know, inside.

0:47:040:47:07

-20 is insane.

-Yes, that's quite extraordinary.

0:47:070:47:10

-Is there a bridge here?

-Yes, there is a small bridge.

0:47:100:47:13

So what happened to it?

0:47:130:47:16

-Because of the cyclone.

-Oh, the cyclone.

0:47:160:47:19

Will the government fix the bridges sometime

0:47:200:47:24

or is it never going to change?

0:47:240:47:27

You know the government has promised about this,

0:47:270:47:29

about repairing this road

0:47:290:47:31

but up to now we've not seen any concrete result.

0:47:310:47:37

That must make life much more difficult.

0:47:370:47:39

Exactly, the commodities here are very expensive compared to

0:47:390:47:45

the city, to Tana, because of the road.

0:47:450:47:49

OK, guys, we have to go because our boat is ready.

0:47:490:47:51

-Very nice to meet you. Thank you very much.

-Nice to meet you.

0:47:510:47:54

Bon voyage. 20 people!

0:47:540:47:57

If only we could conjure up some of that same excitement.

0:47:570:48:00

Maybe we need another 18 people.

0:48:000:48:02

Well, sadly, this guy has just got off the ferry

0:48:150:48:18

and what's happened to him is exactly what we've been in fear of.

0:48:180:48:21

He's missed the plank.

0:48:210:48:22

Which is he's missed the plank and now he's sunk down in the sand

0:48:220:48:25

and I guess they're going to try and pull him out with the rope

0:48:250:48:29

but it's literally one disaster after another, this road.

0:48:290:48:32

It does appear that way, yeah.

0:48:320:48:33

And we've still got four hours' driving ahead of us

0:48:330:48:36

-and it's going to be dark in an hour.

-Yeah.

0:48:360:48:39

It is literally life or death about 20 times a day.

0:48:390:48:43

Although this is the shortest river crossing they've had to make,

0:48:480:48:51

the hold-up has now cost them the day.

0:48:510:48:53

There's temptation to just floor it

0:48:570:49:00

and get the hell out of Dodge, as they say.

0:49:000:49:03

Half past four.

0:49:030:49:05

I reckon we've got about an hour left.

0:49:050:49:08

We've done a kilometre in minutes there.

0:49:080:49:10

That's probably the first time in two days.

0:49:100:49:13

-Ay, oh.

-Sorry.

0:49:170:49:19

OK, I'm not going to drive across this.

0:49:200:49:23

As light begins to fade,

0:49:250:49:26

Angus and Mariella come across yet another barrier to their progress.

0:49:260:49:31

That's the bridge, well, what's left of the bridge, that I'm not

0:49:310:49:36

going to drive over.

0:49:360:49:38

Angus, want to give it a go?

0:49:380:49:40

Well, let's analyse this, shall we?

0:49:400:49:43

There seem to be two planks for each tyre right until

0:49:430:49:47

right at the end, where there seems to be one plank.

0:49:470:49:50

In some respects, it could be regarded as perilous.

0:49:500:49:53

I am now walking, there's no time for pride.

0:49:530:49:56

Well, if someone was to direct me

0:49:560:50:00

then obviously that'll probably be the only we'd get the car from this

0:50:000:50:03

part to that part otherwise we're going to have to go back to London.

0:50:030:50:08

Did it. I'm alive!

0:50:490:50:52

-Do you want to take over? Do you want me to...?

-I'll take over.

-Yeah.

0:50:550:50:59

Five to five.

0:51:050:51:07

If you get stuck at...

0:51:070:51:08

Twilight.

0:51:080:51:09

..twilight it's just not good any which way you look at it.

0:51:090:51:13

How long did you say we've got left of daylight?

0:51:130:51:15

About an hour.

0:51:150:51:16

Oh, God, I don't know how much more I can take.

0:51:170:51:22

Well, it's late, as you can see. The sun is going down fast

0:51:280:51:32

and we are three hours' drive from where we ought to be

0:51:320:51:37

and we're trying to decide whether or not to stay the night.

0:51:370:51:42

The alternative, obviously, is to keep driving in the darkness

0:51:420:51:45

along roads that we don't know.

0:51:450:51:47

Roads like the ones we've all enjoyed together.

0:51:470:51:51

Yes, only in daylight.

0:51:510:51:53

And we're thinking that might be a recipe for disaster.

0:51:530:51:56

It is now, I think, probably officially dark.

0:52:100:52:13

Angus, what's going on?

0:52:180:52:19

-I wish I knew.

-Where to start?

0:52:220:52:24

-It's a long story.

-Yeah.

0:52:260:52:28

I've got all night, I think.

0:52:290:52:31

I might just take this off first.

0:52:310:52:33

Well, yes, what it is, is that for most of the evening we've

0:52:330:52:40

been travelling in darkness down the roads roughly similar to ones

0:52:400:52:45

that we were travelling in daylight -

0:52:450:52:48

just as bad, in other words -

0:52:480:52:49

and we've come across two places

0:52:490:52:51

where the bridges have basically broken

0:52:510:52:55

so we've had to go round the outside, along the beach in darkness

0:52:550:53:01

as the tide's coming in, and now the latest is that we've found a

0:53:010:53:06

bridge that is completely impassable and probably has been for a while.

0:53:060:53:11

Let's not use the word impassable,

0:53:110:53:13

let's say collapsed.

0:53:130:53:14

Yes, half destroyed. No longer a bridge.

0:53:140:53:17

Angus, what are you doing?

0:53:210:53:25

-Cleaning my teeth.

-We're staying here the night then, are we?

0:53:250:53:28

We're staying here the night. This is our bedroom. This my bed.

0:53:280:53:31

Oh, that looks very snug. Where am I?

0:53:310:53:33

You're in the passenger seat.

0:53:330:53:35

Oh, yeah, that'll be luxury.

0:53:350:53:37

Light yourself. Go on, yeah.

0:53:370:53:40

Can you not do anything? Give me the light then.

0:53:400:53:43

Actually, it's looking a bit Blair Witch now.

0:53:430:53:45

No, but that's the thing - it feels a bit Blair Witch.

0:53:460:53:50

We're stuck in the middle of nowhere. The sea could indeed rise

0:53:500:53:54

even higher and sweep us away in the night, we can't escape,

0:53:540:53:57

the bridge is broken. I don't know how to impress upon you the absolute

0:53:570:54:04

crisis that we're in.

0:54:040:54:05

But Angus and I, we have the secret weapon.

0:54:050:54:08

Dun, dun, dun!

0:54:080:54:11

Rum with vanilla pod.

0:54:110:54:14

NOISILY KISSES BOTTLE

0:54:140:54:17

How much is there?

0:54:170:54:18

That's not what I'll be doing to Angus later, that is

0:54:180:54:21

what I'll be doing to the rum.

0:54:210:54:25

Good night, all.

0:54:250:54:26

Good night.

0:54:260:54:29

The situation seems to have improved somewhat.

0:54:290:54:32

Where's the rum? Not so bad.

0:54:320:54:35

In a way, you know, we've got a beach out there.

0:54:350:54:39

Back in the light, please.

0:54:390:54:42

There's a beach, there are waves, there's rum,

0:54:420:54:44

I have all my friends around me.

0:54:440:54:47

I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be.

0:54:470:54:50

We've woken up to paradise.

0:54:530:54:55

Clearly, last night it didn't feel like it

0:54:550:54:58

in the pitch black with no idea, really, where we were.

0:54:580:55:01

Angus curled up on the seat next to me. It was almost romantic.

0:55:010:55:05

I say almost.

0:55:050:55:07

OK, best press on if we want to get out of here

0:55:070:55:10

at some point in our lives.

0:55:100:55:12

They're now just 65 kilometres from their final destination

0:55:150:55:21

but the road continues to throw up obstacles at every turn.

0:55:210:55:25

Crikey.

0:55:250:55:26

I mean, it's not even an adventure for us any more now cos it's

0:55:490:55:52

got to the point, now, where every bridge we're coming to is broken.

0:55:520:55:56

I think we're going to have to traverse the spit.

0:55:560:56:00

It's really, really hard to fathom just how to difficult

0:56:000:56:05

it must be to lead a life here.

0:56:050:56:07

Do you think there'll be a reception committee when we arrive?

0:56:230:56:26

Yes, I think there will be. The people will line the streets.

0:56:260:56:30

Will there be banners, do you think,

0:56:300:56:32

-saying, "Welcome..."

-"..Mariella and Angus?"

0:56:320:56:34

Or will it be, Angus and Mariella?

0:56:340:56:37

I don't care!

0:56:370:56:38

Oh, OK, Angus and Mariella then.

0:56:380:56:41

What are you looking forward to seeing, mainly?

0:56:410:56:45

The back of you.

0:56:450:56:46

This might be it. I think this might actually be...

0:56:490:56:52

The end of the road. the end of the road.

0:56:520:56:55

-Our destination.

-Oh.

0:56:550:56:56

It's delightful. It's like Henley.

0:56:570:57:00

Hello. Hello, civilisation.

0:57:000:57:05

In the first few hours when we drove out of Tana

0:57:050:57:07

and everything we were talking about Madagascar and the wildlife

0:57:070:57:11

and everything but after we actually hit the difficult

0:57:110:57:14

part of the road, we couldn't think about anything but survival.

0:57:140:57:18

These people don't know what we've been through to get here.

0:57:180:57:21

Do you know what? I think they probably do.

0:57:210:57:23

They probably do actually, yeah.

0:57:230:57:25

There were times I was not sure we were going to make it, but,

0:57:250:57:29

in the end, you look back on it

0:57:290:57:31

and think, "I just had six fantastic days."

0:57:310:57:34

-Well, well done.

-Well done, you.

-No, please.

0:57:350:57:39

I think I'm going to be sad saying goodbye to our Ford Everest.

0:57:390:57:42

It's done us proud. Saved our lives about 20 times every day.

0:57:420:57:47

At last! I'm so excited.

0:57:470:57:50

We made it.

0:57:500:57:52

The images in my head are like from a disaster movie.

0:57:520:57:55

I see seas of red mud.

0:57:550:57:57

Red, glutinous mud.

0:57:570:58:00

Oh, cocktail coconuts.

0:58:010:58:05

I think I described Mariella at the start as being bossy,

0:58:050:58:10

so I'm glad we've had a chance to scotch that rumour.

0:58:100:58:13

We've had a very long journey. We're barely alive.

0:58:130:58:17

If I'm honest, she's very good fun to be with

0:58:170:58:20

and it has been a bit of a hoot over the last five/six days.

0:58:200:58:24

-Cheers again.

-Cheers.

0:58:240:58:26

Yeah. I never actually thought we'd make it.

0:58:260:58:28

He did remain completely unflappable

0:58:280:58:32

and probably had quite a good effect on me

0:58:320:58:35

because I am a flapper, on occasion.

0:58:350:58:39

Aargh!

0:58:390:58:40

Yeah, we just need to be away from each other for another

0:58:400:58:43

two or three years and we'll be ready to be friends again.

0:58:430:58:47

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:530:58:57

Driving up Madagascar's eastern coast at the tail end of the rainy season is enough to test the best of friends. Angus Deayton and Mariella Frostrup are game enough to take on the challenge and luckily, good enough friends to poke fun at each other as the road puts them to the test.

It is a route with countless river crossings, offering Angus and Mariella a terrifying variety of broken bridges and flimsy ferries as the only way across. The roads themselves are mired with thick mud, making progress increasingly painful, until finally the road gets the better of them and they are forced to spend a night in the car.


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