BBC's World's Most Dangerous Roads - Ho Chi Minh Trail

Discussion in 'Book, Movie, DVD CD Reviews' started by Rhodie, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    This programme is one of three in the BBC’s second World's Most Dangerous Roads series. For some reason –to capture a younger demographic?- the BBC has chosen comedians and day-time TV presenters to “take part” in what could have been a most interesting and exciting adventure travel TV programme.

    Sadly imho it is an opportunity lost and, rather than the Blashford-Snell or Ran Fiennes approach you get Jimmy Tarbuck’s daughter, Lisa, and some other comedic gal in a four-by-four driving from Vinh in Vietnam changing vehicles at the V-L border and then on into Laos and back to Vietnam before ending up in Da Nang.

    I wonder what the Vietnamese think abut the Americans now? is a questioned posed, but never answered. Voice over narration, along with archive war footage attempts to put their trip into some sort of historical context.

    Sadly these adventurous two have done minimal reading and convey zero cultural, political or historical knowledge themselves as they trundle and bicker down the trail crying “Zabadee” at any Laotian they encounter. A camera crew in a back-up vehicle evidently accompanies them, though you never see them in shot. They would have done well to have read some of Rod Page’s excellent trip reports, or, even Lonely Planet to show a little understanding of the significance of the HCM trail and present day Laos/Vietnam, almost four decades after the conflict.

    Their journey through the Laos section of the HCM trail provides for the most interesting parts of this travelogue with stunning Karst mountain views and interesting red roads with river crossings.
    A night spent in a “Santa’s own grotto brothel” is laughed-off though no tell-tale video shows us where, or, the standard of accommodation encountered.

    A meeting in Laos with two former USAF F-100 ‘Misty’ FAC pilots who had just met up with a former Pathet Laos SAM operator involved in shooting down one of their wingmen, was perhaps the most poignant part of this film. The Laos fighter had,they said, had visited and prayed at their friend’s grave in Arlington.

    The gals encounter with a scandi UXO deminer “Magnus” has them weak-at-the-knees along with two unexploded bombs he’s dug-up, and is only real danger they experience and the only justification for the inclusion of this trip in “Dangerous Roads”. Apart from standard SEA driving that is.

    With Laos Support facilities provided by GT-R sponsor, Remote Asia Travel, and sometime GT-R contributor Jimoi, along with Digby Greenhalgh also credited as advising, this episode is easily found on the web and available, for the next few days, on BBC iPlayer if you are using a UK vpn. Worth a viewing if you are thinking of driving the Laos section of the HCM trail in your Thai 4x4. Vietnam is still closed to Thai registered vehicles.
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  3. Moto-Rex

    Moto-Rex Moderator

    Thanks for the link Rhodie.
  4. Rod Page

    Rod Page Ol'Timer

    Rhodie - I enjoyed your critique but alas was was unable to open the link provided & thus contribute back fully. (I'll keep trying).
    Thank you for your kind comments. It is disconcerting to see such topics, such adventures, trivialised & undermined as it can detract from the merit of such outings & the enjoyment of those exploring.
    Organisations of the size & influence of the BBC have responsibilities; well done for holding them to task.
  5. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Fellas,

    For those with out a VPN to watch BBC programs.. You can download the program via bittorrent.

    I have not looked at this to confirm the torrent is good.. Downloading now. Lots of seeds, suspect it is OK.

    Open the URL


    If you have bittorrent installed you should be prompted and select the options to begin the download.

    If you don't know what bittorent is.. You will need to install the bittorent client first to download the torrent.

    What is Bittorent? Below should help you decide which client is best for you.. Windows / Mac

  6. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    Sadly ratings and excitement values tend to trump knowledge in the ratings wars of today's TV.
    There is one episode in this series on Siberia in the winter along the "Road of Bones" to Magadan
    which those who have followed the experiences of the mad Poles on ADV Rider will find interesting.

    Brian's suggestion of finding torrent downloads are probably the best, though ISPs are cracking down on sites like BTjunkie & Demonoid. Vuze maybe an easier option for some.
  7. jimoi

    jimoi Ol'Timer

    It might be a bit confusing the way the segment is edited but the Misty pilots were interviewed in Vietnam, not Laos. Roger Van Dyken said it was a 9 gun crew. The gun crew leader was most likely Vietnamese as they mention the aircraft was taken out down the road from where they were interviewed and this was south of Vinh near Phong Nha Cave

    The vid has popped up on YouTube at

    Driving this way required the use of GPS tracks and self-drive in 4 wd is pretty dependent on weather and current conditions.

    I also think there was some confusion on the accommodation being brothels. I believe it was just a misinterpretation on the show hosts side, trick of the lights as it were.
  8. brian_bkk

    brian_bkk Moderator Staff Member

    Watched this tonight.. Some what disappointing..

    Should have been a very good and informative show about the plight of the Lao people / the HCM Trail and the clean up that is needed.

    Felt like the celebs were the feature and the HCM trail and the hardships of the war a distant second.

    Guess this is what appeals to Mr and Mrs Joe Average sitting in the UK living room while having a fish and chips TV dinner.


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