Charley is now one of the faces of modern TV adventuring having successfully produced adventure travel documentaries for the BBC, SKY and National Geographic Channel since 2004. His first big adventure was the iconic award winning series Long Way Round (2004) biking overland from London to New York via Europe and Asia alongside Ewan McGregor. Charley returned to the saddle with Ewan McGregor in 2007 for the Long Way Down, which saw the duo travel from John O’Groats to Cape Town. By Any Means (2008), saw him travel solo from Ireland to Australia using any method of transport he could find. Covering some of the world’s most exciting and dangerous terrains. In the wake of the success of By Any Means Charley undertook By Any Means 2 in 2009 travelling from Sydney to Tokyo.
In January 2011 Charley Boorman participated in the reality TV game show Famous and Fearless in which eight celebrities competed in extreme sporting events for charity. Charley won this highly challenging competition raising £70,000, £40,000 he donated to Unicef, and the rest he split between the charities of his fellow contestants. Charley has been an ambassador for Unicef alongside Ewan McGregor for many years now, and describes Unicef as “a fantastic bunch of people with hearts and capability absolutely in the right place”. Charley, very publically dyslexic himself, is the president of the Dyslexia Action and is always pushing to use any influence to help motivate individuals who are dyslexic. Charley passionately believes that “this issue is often overlooked, and so the more attention we can bring to it, the better chance people have of dealing with it and overcoming it.”
Charley is furthermore a fervent supporter of Help for Heroes. In December 2009 he went to Afghanistan to visit the troops for Christmas and was overwhelmed by the courage of the soldiers. Having had testicular cancer last year, Charley is an ambassador for Movember and is very keen to increase awareness of men’s health.
Actor, travel adventurer, motorbike enthusiast, charity ambassador, and father.
Maz:The shows you do, how much work is done behind the scene? How much of what we see is real? Could the average person just get on a bike, bus etc and go or is there more to it than that?
Charley: I think that everything that we do is pretty achievable, if somebody really wants to do it, then they can. Trips further afield can be more complicated because of visas and work permits and those kinds of things but other than that, anybody could do – and are doing right now what we do! We’re very lucky because we only go with a maximum of 4 people, 2 cameramen and a producer. We film everything as it happens and so it’s all 100% real.
Maz: Can you take us through your planning process?
Charley: Always make sure that where you’re going, that you have researched it and there are a couple of things you want to do and then you can choose your route to include those things. Make sure you get your paperwork all done, and pack light and then just go and have some fun!
Maz: Crossing so many borders, you must have some interesting stories?
Charley: When you’re crossing borders you always have to have patience! Give up at least a day so you’re not frustrated when you’re there. We once had to spend 18 hours at the Ukraine border because we didn’t have the right pieces of paper with you – always bring your original copies! Other than that they’ve all been pretty good as long as you’ve got visas and the right paperwork.
Maz: Have you ever though this is it, trip over, we’re going home before reaching the finish line?
Charley: Never! I’ve never thought of that ever, I’ve often thought “let’s not go this way, let’s go another way” but I’ve never thought of giving up – it’s just not an option.
Maz: Do you think travel broadens the mind?
Charley: Travel is definitely the “spice of life” and everyone should give it a go, especially now that travel has been made so easy. I was at the Adventure Travel Show this weekend and it was so fantastic the amount of operators giving good deals now.
Maz: You’ve done some pretty amazing stuff, but when it’s time to go on “holiday” with the family, do you drag them to remote parts of the world with you or do a package holiday?
Charley: We often have adventurous holidays, for the last summer holiday we were in Kenya in Watamu on the coast and then inland for a bit of wild camping on safari. We all love a bit of adventure and I can’t really see myself on a package holiday.
Maz:Is there anywhere left that you’ve not visited that’s still on your list? What would be your jewel in the crown destination or travel experience?
Charley: There’s a lot of the world that I haven’t seen yet and I’d love to start having a look at South America and all the countries there and also maybe China.
Maz: If you could suggest only one place for our readers to visit where would it be and what makes this so special?
Charley: If there was one place to suggest it would be Mongolia, it’s one of the furthest away places in the world and one of the most difficult to get across. But it’s one of the most beautiful places with the nicest people you’ll come across.
Maz: We know you’re a massive bike enthusiast, the Mrs. won’t let me have one but what bike would you recommend for a first time rider who’d love to learn how to ride and were would be best place to take it on its first adventure?
Charley: I would say that something like a 600 dual purpose bike would be a great start and then you have to walk out your door, get on your bike and ride anywhere you like for your first adventure. Up in Scotland there are some stunning roads to ride on so that’s a good bet.
Maz: You’ve gone the long way down, the long way round, travelled by any means, what else is there? Do you have any other epic trips planned and when will hear about them?
Charley: Well the last series I did, Extreme Frontiers, saw me travelling across Canada. I’d always rushed through countries and felt that I wanted to get to know one place really well. Canada is an amazing place, there’s so much to do and see. I’d love to do a second series of Extreme Frontiers, but we shall have to see! Ewan and I have always talked about doing a third Long Way too but we’re in no rush, so you’ll just have to watch this space!
Maz: You’re currently the president of Dyslexia Action, tell as a bit about this organisation, what it does and how we can help?
Charley: I’ve struggled with dyslexia all my life. Dyslexia Action UK is there to try and help as many children as possible as early as possible to find out if they have dyslexia or not. Their aim is to try and get a professional into every school in the country to help these children, aiding them with the tools that they need to get through life. Also, there are a number of older people who slip through the net. Dyslexia Action gives these people the opportunity to learn to read or improve their reading skills. They are such a fantastic organisation and for more information or to help out go to