Benedict Allen while filming The Skeleton Coast series for BBC 2
© Adrian Arbib
Benedict Allen's television programmes have occasionally been made with the help of a camera-crew but more typically without. He paved the way for modern TV adventure, those following in his footsteps including "The Survivor Man", Bear Grylls, Bruce Parry and the television adventurers that we are so familiar with today.
As The Sunday Times put it:
"Filming whatever actually happens, without all the hidden paraphernalia of a film crew, and whether in danger or lonely or undergoing various exotic rituals, he has effectively taken the viewers' experience of adventure as far as it can go."
That said, most of his more challenging journeys – depicted in his first five books – took place before he began "filming" his exploits. "I belonged to the last generation that might pass through a wilderness for months on end and not encounter a single person of my own culture. It's poignant, looking back: never in all those years whilst actually embarked on a trek can I remember coming across another foreigner." Such isolation seems inconceivable today.