TV

Wish I was there: Who needs real travel when you have TV?

These days we're all Judith Chalmers in our own living rooms, writes Lucy Sweet on her newfound love of travel TV in lockdown

TV shows like Travel Man and Chris Tarrants Extreme Railways have provided an escape during lockdown

TV shows like Travel Man and Chris Tarrants Extreme Railways have provided an escape during lockdown

Apart from going for another FECKING WALK, watching TV is probably the last thing you want to do at the moment. Of course, that won’t stop you from spending hours of enforced sedation in front of boxsets you’ve seen countless times before.

But chances are that pretty much anything else would be preferable to another day of staring at a screen, like going on a trip to a recycling centre perhaps, or a nuclear reactor.

At this point we’re so starved of fun we’d choose the middle aisle of Lidl as a viable holiday destination, just so that we can gaze upon the majesty of a discounted air fryer.

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As the world shrinks, I’ve found myself watching any old programme that features people going somewhere. It can literally be anyone going anywhere and doing anything; I’m not fussy.

I’ve even found myself genuinely enraptured by Chris Tarrant’s Extreme Railways, where Chris, the lucky bastard, goes on 17-hour trans-Siberian voyages to Vladivostok and complains about them. Remember when you moaned about being stuck on a train? I dream of being stranded in Omsk due to signalling problems! It sounds like the very essence of adventure.

Until we can bust out of our personal prisons, travelling in the mind is going to have to do

I also now devour Travel Man repeats on Dave, just so I can see that most delectable of forbidden pleasures – the cheap city break. To think we used to casually drop into European cities for two days of fun, hiring bikes and drinking beer and going to places with more than three people in them. What decadence!

Right now, I would trade all my possessions to take a Ryanair shuttle bus from a far-flung airport to a rat-infested hostel on the outskirts of Bratislava. I would even volunteer to go on a city break with a BBC Three comedian who is hellbent on trying out their new material if it meant I could go to a restaurant, or museum or stand in a street in Belgium eating chips.

Talking of which, while I fill the empty void of my life with Wotsits, like an ever-growing human beanbag stuffed with polystyrene pellets, I also like to watch people going to different places and eating food.

Somebody Feed Phil is perfect viewing, as it features a guy call Phil who travels the world eating food. Be warned though, it’s heady stuff. When Phil had fried cheese in Brazil I had so many feelings I had to leave the room.

It’s not ideal, but until we can bust out of our personal prisons, vaccinated to the hilt and able to do crazy things like visit another person indoors or snog randoms in sweaty nightclubs, travelling in the mind is going to have to do.

So put the telly on, turn up the heating and channel your inner Judith Chalmers. Or, alternatively, you could go for a walk. Your choice.

Chris Tarrant: Extreme Railways is on My5; Travel Man is on Dave; Somebody Feed Phil is on Netflix
@lucytweet1

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