Long Way Down
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Long Way Down

Ratings: 6.53/10 from 17 users.

Long Way DownLong Way Down is a television series, book and DVD documenting a motorcycle journey undertaken by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman, on which they rode south through 18 countries from John o' Groats in Scotland to Cape Agulhas in South Africa via Europe and Africa in 2007. It is a follow-up to the Long Way Round trip, when the pair rode east from London to New York via Eurasia and North America.

Given the number of countries they passed through, the team anticipated delays and problems at the various borders they would need to cross, particularly in Africa. However, after their experiences on the Long Way Round journey, which included problems with Russian visas, a fine due to a missing stamp in their carnet document and border delays of up to 12 hours, a major focus of the preparation stage was planning for transit between countries.

Although the American crew members were barred from entering Libya, this was anticipated ahead of their arrival at the border. Upon arrival in Tunisia, the team had to bribe the local authorities with a few bottles of vodka to ease their passage into the country, which they assumed would be par for the course as they traveled through Africa. However, although short delays of up to a few hours were common, there were few significant problems at crossing points as they made their way further south.

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29 Comments / User Reviews

  1. leigh

    Got this twice on Netflix cuz it's so good. True pals.

  2. Jo McKay

    Another GRAND Adventure. Though you might feel like skipping thru the 1st two sections; as Charlie & Ewan admitted themselves they messed up w scheduling deadlines and basically just rode through Scotland, France, and Italy (maybe that's a couple's trip Ewan can do w his wife in future). Film gets much better at Section 3. I love the side trips - into villages - a little history - some of the stories within stories of the people and the cultures - the good work of NGO's - the clear horror of endless war, and the resilience of people building their own cooperatives and communities. Yet it must be said that logically people will not invest themselves in gardens, settlements, and sustainability unless there is stability over time (Peace - our world needs Peace). Did you note the region of Uganda (I think) where a religious crackpot is terrorising the area by kidnapping young boys and forcing them to become his soldiers? (In a war to save souls that only HE imagines). In a couple African countries they were 'required' by border patrols to take armed guards with them (though the guards rode w the support team or in their own vehicle - so Ewan and Charlie were on their own for long stretches even in those countries). For the most part I think it's true that humans are social and hospitable - we want to be kind - so it's sad when we go along for the ride (so to speak) on current day adventures and we can see and feel the possibilities, the potential of our humanity, yet wars and business exploitation by empire builders (& expansionist religions I must add) continues to cruelly plague all the peoples (and environments) of the earth. Africa touches us deeply I think because it is not long (40-50,000 years) since it was our home for perhaps a couple million years. Genetic memory triggered maybe :) I often feel that way about other places on the planet as well.
    I agree w others that these journeys work because of the dynamics of friendship. It's friends sharing an adventure, not lover's (that's another dynamic that maybe would work as it's own story), but not so much over lapping. Ewan speaks about how long it takes to really feel like you are into a trip and part of the experience - I think that's a good lesson for travellers. If we want to have a genuine experience, we need to take the time to unload all our own 'stuff', and then stay a while. Thank you for sharing this with us. -peace

  3. Greg_Mc

    Just finished watching it and like the first one I get an odd feeling of slight sadness when it is over. Again I can't pin point exactly why but I found both docs to be completely addicting once I started watching them. I do hope they make another one, Ewans wife Eve said if they go on another trip she wants to go with them for a longer period of time than she spent on this trip. I really hope that if they do another one she doesn't go, there is a solid group dynamic in place already that works great with them all splitting up and meeting together every few days or whatever it is. Having Eve there would kill the Charley/Ewan and Claudio group chemistry, when Ewan first mentioned his wife joining them you could see in Charley's eyes and body language that he wasn't keen on the idea. I am sure Charley likes Eve and from what I can gather they are good friends as I am sure Ewan is with Charley's wife (who by the way I think is extremely attractive). But these docs work because Charley and Ewan are such good friends and they clearly enjoy traveling together and it comes through while watching it and adding Eve to the group changes the dynamic and not for the best and you can see it makes Charley uncomfortable and feel like a third wheel and I personally find it uncomfortable to watch when she is there. I am not even sure if it would work if both wives came for a portion on the trip and it is not a sexist thing I just feel it works great with just Charley and Ewan (with some Claudio thrown in) riding together with the support team.

    1. magarac

      You are exactly right!

  4. Greg_Mc

    I forgot about that part do you remember which segment it was on so i can re watch it? I don't want to comment on something I vaguely remember.

    Read my comment above and maybe you can answer the general question I posted to any bike riders on here. I also wondered how much this all cost, I am sure Ewan put up a lot of the money as he must be pretty well off and can write it off somehow anyway, plus they have sponsors who chip in and the fact it is technically for charity will help at tax time. But like you I would love to know an approximation of what this whole thing cost, I am sure it was a lot of money as there are costs involved that I know I would never think of since I know nothing about what it takes to put a program like this together.

  5. Greg_Mc

    Finished section 6-5 and that seemed to be it for watching it on TDF now it seems I have to navigate my way through youtube to watch the rest of it. So hopefully the rest is all there because even though I think it is coming to near the end I really dont want to miss any of it. There was one part 5-3 I think that was taken down because of some sort of copyright infringement crap.

    I noticed at one point when Charley and Ewan were supposed to be off by themselves you could see this rather large man in the background and they moved the camera so you couldn't see him anymore. I guess to keep up appearances they only will show or talk about the two of them and Claudio (but not much of him which is too bad because he was amusing in the first one) but we would have to be pretty naive to think they are actually out there by themselves with no bodyguard's. Africa is a very dangerous place and without even taking into consideration Ewan's people and whatever studio's he was signed up with to do some movies there is just no way he and Charley (and there families) would take the chance of doing this trip without people to protect them in case of trouble. That doesn't make them wimps it means they are smart enough to know their limitations and that they are when it comes right down to it just regular guys and that they need trained tough possibly combat ready people in case they run into a situation where they need immediate protection. Protection or not I still think what they are doing is a cool adventure and riding bikes for 8 plus hours a day through some at times not so easy terrain takes a certain amount of toughness to do. Some of you may be bikers who have done long trips so you would have a better understanding of what it takes to do a trip like this than I would, so I would really like to hear your opinion on the whole thing. Plus if you have done long bike trips along with your opinion I would (as I am sure others would too) love to hear some of your stories as well. You don't have to be rich and famous in order to have a story or adventure to share that others would find interesting.

  6. TonyIII

    As a motorcyclist I really enjoyed the whole thing. They have improved technically from the first series. One wonders just how much money this production must have cost!.
    I found the encounter with the police in Scotland to be genuinly chilling. They travelled through all those 3rd world countries with mutual respect; but met up with police morons in Scotland. Looks as if Charlie was roughed up.

    1. jellybean8309

      ..he had a black eye the next day!

    2. Greg_Mc

      I went back to check on when Charley had his problem with the Scottish Police, in one of my many long winded comments I had asked you which part this happened in lol but I am sure you didnt see it because I doubt many people read my long comments. I went back and all I could find was the incident at the airport where he said the word "bomb" so I assume thats what you were talking about. Was the airport not in England (or do I have the wrong part?) ? Either way it doesn't matter, Charley was clearly shaken up by the whole thing. Actually he looked like he was very scared and you could see the look of panic on his face and as jellybean pointed out he seemed to have a black eye when they all finally got back together in the airport lounge when they were discussing the fact Charley had to stay and take another flight. I guess they were told to keep their mouths shut about whatever had gone on because the only time it was mentioned was Charley saying that it was stupid of him to have said the word in the first place (it is a pretty basic rule when in an airport or on a plane that the word bomb is something you never ever say) which to me seemed a bit contrived and i think either the police asked him to say something on camera about it (not sure if they would have done that but it is a possibility) or Charley did it on his own maybe within earshot of the police or airport security so that they would hear him saying it on camera in the hopes that they would see it as him trying to atone for it in front of an audience. Or he was just admitting it was stupid for him to say it and it seemed contrived to me because he was so shaken up. Hey by the look of his eye it sure looks like when they took him away into a private room they did a little more than just say "Charley you can't say that word in an airport so please do not do it again" , so I am sure he had good reason to be as shaken up as he was.

  7. Tracy Crumly Bergeson

    Loved it SO MUCH! Always liked Ewan McGregor, now I like him even more. I agree with Greg_Mc, nothing I watch now will compare :( I hope they do another documentary!!

    1. Guest


    2. magarac

      Would be absolutely fantastic to see them in south america.
      Or even antarctica, that would be an adventure:)

    3. Irishkev

      The only problem with antarctica is that it's not far enough away.

    4. jellybean8309

      yeah..they definately should do a #3 going thru So. America!

    5. Sonya Turner

      Actually there will be a South American documentary. I was in Peru in January and they had just passed there. I have no idea when it will be released.

    6. Greg_Mc

      Thanks for that update Sonya, I don't know what it is about these docs but I just love them. Was never a big fan of Ewan's (not that I disliked him, I was more indifferent than anything) and had never heard of Charley before but you get a little more perspective of them as people on these docs, I am sure if at any point one of them acted like a dick they would edit it out. There is just something, especially the first one, about these docs that completely fascinates me but I can't quite figure out what exactly it is maybe it is the guy bonding thing plus I like most people am totally jealous of them getting to do this (I know Ewan is famous so they get a lot of the stuff for free which is not an option for us regular people, lol could you imagine BMW getting a call "Hey it is GregMc on the phone he is going on a trip and filming it should we give him two free big ass bikes?" I doubt it lol). I do have one issue and that is Ewan's wife joining them, I can see why he wants her there but it totally takes the Charley-Ewan dynamic out of it plus you can visably see Charley is uncomfortable with it which makes watching it uncomfortable. I am sure Ewans wife (sorry cannot remember her name) is a very nice girl and I obviously do not know her to have any real opinion on what she is like but as I said she seems like a very nice girl I just would prefer the trip would be just the two guy's on their bikes with the crew in their SUV's.

    7. Greg_Mc

      Thanks for agreeing with me Tracy, lol that happens so seldom on here. I tend to write long comments which can annoy people and I have been told to shut up before, a lot of people will look and see a long comment and just ignore it because they can't be bothered to read it. I can't blame them as I do the same myself sometimes. There are people on here who I see commenting on a lot of the same vids I watch and I have either had conversations with them before or if I have just read their comments before and I know they tend to write well thought out and informative ones I will read their long comments because I know they will be interesting and there is a good chance I will learn something. A lot of you people on here teach and inform me on a regular basis.

      I saw one of the Star Wars movies on TV today so I watched it for a bit and after seeing Ewan in these docs as himself (you sort of get the feeling you know him a little bit from watching these docs) it sort of gave me a different perspective while watching it.

      I want to see Charley in a movie now as well (as I dont think I have before), I know we are watching an edited doc on here but I really have come to like the guy.

  8. Greg_Mc

    Just at part 2-5 and while I am enjoying it so far some of the things they did in the first doc they are not doing in this one, well so far anyway. Someone mentioned below that (I can't see any new comments, so I am going from memory on what I read in my email from when new posts are sent to me, because I have to refresh the page to do so and if I do that I have to spend time searching through the doc to get back to where I was last viewing it and I am lazy but may have to get over that lol) there is no footage of Claudio in this doc which is to bad because he did add something positive to the doc lol even if it was just him falling off his bike. Also because they have time constraints they are just driving through places only stopping to eat and camp at night so they are not getting the chance to spend some time in places and meet some locals which is something they themselves have quietly complained about. Watching them ride their bikes and getting a little view of the scenery is nice but I sure don't want to sit here and watch 5 hours of that. Having said all that I am still going too watch the whole doc because just like the first one it is just so addicting for some reason that I cannot stop watching it.

  9. Irishkev

    Grrrrrr, knobends!

  10. Greg_Mc

    They are cutting out the sound whenever someone swears, I hate when they do that. I assume it is because this one is on and I presume paid for in part by BBC2, I thought swearing was allowed (to a certain extent anyway) on British TV. It takes some of the realism out of it.

    1. Earthwinger

      The editing out of swear words isn't because of commissioning constraints, and as you rightly assumed, swearing is allowed on British TV. Rather, it's due to the time at which programmes are screened. There is a "watershead" policy observed by UK broadcasters, and programmes screened early in the evening, before the watershead are considered to be family viewing, so swearing is edited out. After the watershead though, when young ones should be tucked up in bed, there's no such editing.

    2. Greg_Mc

      In Canada we have the same thing more or less where after 9 or 10 pm certain things are allowed like language, violence and nudity. But the difference is negligible since the 5 or 6 prudes that make up our censor board decided long ago that we lack intelligence and common sense and need them to be our moral guide so there is virtually no bad language and on 99% of the channels no nudity no matter the time. And these very smart and highly moral people who clearly have their fingers on the pulse of our nation know that if we are watching anything on TV and we hear a bad word or god forbid we see some ladies breasts we wont be able emotionally deal with it because we lack any sort of common sense and self control and the moral fabric of our society will very quickly unravel turning us all into foul mouthed perverts who will then go about raping or at the very least sexually harrassing women and swearing at everyone turning Canada into a country of sex crazed lunatics with no self control. So thank god we have these people to make sure we arent exposed to anything bad because we as a people obviously don't know the difference between make believe and real life and if exposed to anything slightly racy we wouldn't be able self regulate and digest what we have seen on TV as something that is entertainment and not real thereby corrupting us morally overriding anything we were taught by our parents, teachers etc.

    3. Guest

      I wish they did the same thing with war reports on the news. I much prefer swearing or naked bodies (which are censored at all hours) than dead people shot and bleeding.

  11. Greg_Mc

    I just finished watched Long Way Round yesterday and I just loved it, turned on my lap top just now thinking to myself "what am I going to watch now?" Pretty much anything I watch wont be as good, well that isn't a true statement as there are plenty of docs that are as good if not better in a variety of ways. It is that I just enjoyed Long Way Round so much that I said to myself when it was over "I wish the doc was longer" lol over 7 hours was to short, I either need some sort of help or a life lol. I can't even point out what it was about Long Way Round that captivated me so much, I do think that a large part of it was the personalities of Charley and Ewan. I had never heard of Charley before and while I obviously knew who Ewan was I had no special attachment to him as an actor, I liked his movies for the most part but I wasn't a big fan. Charley and Ewan just came across as two regular buddies on a vacation and while they are obviously comfortable in front of the camera and Ewan especially liked to ham it up they were both just likeable people who seemed like a couple of guys you would enjoy going out for a beer with.
    So to make a short story long, when I opened my email up I had a link to this new doc waiting for me. I had to laugh when I saw what the new doc TDF had sent me was, sometimes I guess things just work out for you. So needless to say I am looking forward to watching this, so I will STFU and go do that.

  12. blahblahbob

    stopped watching the minute eve got on board. what a waste.. i was able to put aside the fact that it wasnt a true adventure but more of a rich kid and his lucky buddy going on holiday, but when the rich kid insisted on taking his chick i gave up... next one should be called long way to the tampon isle...

    1. Greg_Mc

      Did you see the look on Charley's face when Ewan said (not asked but said) Eve was going to join them? He was totally shocked then it was 50/50 hurt feelings and anger, lost some respect for Ewan when he pulled that stunt. I am going to continue watching the doc though because I enjoyed the first one a lot but I have the feeling this one may not be as good now, I think some of Charley's heart isnt in it as much now. He will get over it I am sure but he has every reason to be pissed at Ewan

    2. blahblahbob

      i did end up watching it and its not too horrible but def. not as good as the first. there is less sense of adventure and charlie doesnt seem as stoked to be there. the trip itself kind of gets skipped over at first. there was def. more cool interaction between ewan and charlie, and the boys and all the locals they met, in season one. and they hardly even mention claudio...

  13. magarac

    Not as good as Long Way Round, but still very much worth watching.
    The intense beauty of the african landscapes is the best part of it all.