We shot this episode as the pilot – so none of us quite knew what to expect. David, our producer, and Alex, our director, travelled out a couple of days before the rest of us to make sure everything was set up. They wanted the series to have an ‘off the cuff’ feel and I think we’ve achieved that, but even a series where it looks like we’re ‘winging it’ most of the time needs some sort of organisation! People and places have to be researched, hotels booked, minibuses ordered. Once the basics are in place (and thank you Cherry, queen of line producers!) the crew and I turn up, and off we go.
Aah…my home from home! When I saw that Barbados was on the list, I wanted to high five Bobby the dog. I LOVE Barbados. I was also interested to see what Producer Dave would make of it. This would be his first time in the country, and David’s more of your ‘National Trust’ sort of bloke. I think he thought Barbados might be wall-to-wall resorts and nothing else.
Oh wow. This place was new to me – and - I’m going to have to say this again - wow.
One of the best things about this series is that it has taken me to many places I have never visited before. Taipei was one of those places. I’m ashamed to say that I knew very little about it before I went. It was on the list because it is routinely touted as the best city in the world for street food.
We shot this episode in May – one of the best months to visit Sicily. I’m a sucker for sunny skies, and this is one of those places where you’re pretty much guaranteed them. Having said that though, the summer storms here can knock you off your feet.
I left, bleary-eyed, along with Steve The Soundman, from Heathrow’s Terminal 5 on the 8.05am to Tokyo. There we connected with the Osaka flight, arriving (even more bleary-eyed) at 7.40am the next day.
Travelling with Steve and Christian, I caught a lunchtime flight to Spain from Heathrow’s Terminal 5. It was mid-October and I was looking forward to a spot of autumn sunshine. And I certainly got it! The weather was perfect for filming – a balmy 22-23°.
I’ve been to Morocco before – but never to Fes – and I was expecting a heady blast of noise and spice and sun. I wasn’t disappointed.
I can’t say I was too unhappy to be skipping the country in late November. We’d so far had a month of rain and showers and, although by the 19th it had settled down, I was ready for some warmth. Imagine my delight at seeing once again the ‘bring wet weather gear’ warning on the call sheet.
We had a filming break over the summer and started up again in early autumn for the last four cities. The first of these was Amman, in Jordan.