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Mark Beaumont

Tim FarrTim Farr Posts: 665
edited May 2010 in Tour & expedition
Last night (Tuesday) there was a very enjoyable documentary about his Alaska to South America ride. It's called The Man Who Cycled the Americas. It was at 10.35pm on BBC1. If you missed it you can probably catch it on i-player. Second programme next week. I get the feeling there are only two programmes.
T Farr
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  • pneumaticpneumatic Posts: 1,989
    No, it is a three parter, North, Central and South.

    The Facebook page is groaning with extra clips, too. type in cycling the americas


    Fast and Bulbous
    Peregrinations
    Eddingtons: 80 (Metric); 60 (Imperial)

  • ukracerukracer Posts: 421
    He is also doing a tour around the uk
    (Talking about the trip not on his bike)
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    I have to say I found the three programmes a bit of a disappointment for the following reasons:

    1) The narration was awful. Every 2 minutes there were lines like, 'but new dangers will arise just round the corner', and 'his next challenge will push him to the limit', to be followed by a huge anti-climax.

    2) The three programmes missed out massive chunks of the journey and so the whole thing felt a bit disjointed. There were bits when I'd have liked to see a conclusion (like when he had no inner tubes or repair kits left and was miles from the nearest cycle shop..I'd liked to have seen that conclude in some way rather than us just assuming everything turned out ok). It might have been better to make it a 5, or even 10, parter.

    3) For someone who got so much media attention (and probably makes a huge wad of cash) for doing something that many people have already done I really would have expected him to learn a bit more Spanish before he went. His level was VERY basic and given that this must have been in the planning for a while he really could have got a few more classes under his belt. Because of this, the parts off the bike really suffered in central and south America as he could barely communicate, let alone ask any insightful questions. I speak Spanish so I think he he had studied intensively for just three months he'd have had a much better time.

    4) Returning to the parts off the bike, they really were quite boring. Half the world and his dog has been to these parts of the world so you really have to find a new angle or insight to show yoru audience. Just trying some strong coffee in Ecuador doesn't cut the mustard for me, and neither does going to a bullfight. I guess that is not a problem restricted to his programme: if you want to make a good travel programme these days I think you need to assume that a fair whack of your audience will have already visited the place, or one like it, and try and find a niche. Unfortunately, Mark Beaumont didn't do that (possibly because of his level of Spanish)

    5) Climbing the mountains just seemed like a needless distraction: the narrator emphasised that it was the first time someone had ever cycled the route and climbed the mountains but the two things just don't fit together for me. After all, if he wanted something unique, he could have just climbed the second highest mountain in each continent! Just because something is unique, it doesn't mean it is worth doing.

    6) I think on the another thread someone mentioned that what he did has been done many times before. The BBC annoyed me as they heavily implied that he was the first, or at least one of the very few, to have done it. I haven't done anything like it (though I'd love to!) but I have met people who have cycled round the world etc and I think some people might feel a little aggrieved that he gets all the media attention. Don't get me wrong, he seems like a great guy but he didn't bring anywhere near the kind of charisma that was needed to really pull it off.

    7) Although it may sound contradictory, I did like the programmes I just think they could have been so much better.
  • SquagglesSquaggles Posts: 875
    I agree with a lot of your points but has he really made a 'huge wad of cash' ?
    The UCI are Clowns and Fools
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    I agree with a lot of your points but has he really made a 'huge wad of cash' ?

    Well, I mean I couldn't put a figure on it but he has the deal with the BBC (three programmes, the internet site), probably some kind of book, the cash from his talks, sponsorship before and after and if he plays his cards right a lot more endorsements and advertisements in the future. I am not saying he'll be a millionaire (though with a good agent that wouldn't be that unlikely) but most people would have been delighted with just having the trip paid for.

    Good luck to the guy, though.
  • the_prophetthe_prophet Posts: 426
    wasnt there a thread on this somewhere else??

    i enjoyed it, good to see a cycling based documentary on the tele for a change. i agree the editing and narration wasnt ideal but it still gave me a good indication of what he went through etc.
  • alfabluealfablue Posts: 8,497
    I understand that for some shows the presenter gets no TV fee but gets the money made from the associated publication, no idea if this applied here.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    wasnt there a thread on this somewhere else??

    i enjoyed it, good to see a cycling based documentary on the tele for a change. i agree the editing and narration wasnt ideal but it still gave me a good indication of what he went through etc.

    There are a few threads, yes. I enjoyed it too; I just feel it could have been so much better.
  • iain_jiain_j Posts: 1,941
    I enjoyed it, but there's not much you can do with just three 1 hour episodes. Should have made a series out of it.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    iain_j wrote:
    I enjoyed it, but there's not much you can do with just three 1 hour episodes. Should have made a series out of it.

    Your're right. Surely all the footage was already there so it wouldn't have cost much more to make it a series. Given some of the rubbish you find on TV it is a difficult decision to comprehend.
  • Tim FarrTim Farr Posts: 665
    I enjoyed the programmes. Although he may not be the first to make this cycling trip, he is probably the first to document it on film. Thousands have done LEJOG but that does not invalidate the achievement of any new completer.Similarly with the Americas journey. He may not be the first, but that's not a reason not to celebrate such a daunting task.

    The mountaineering was an odd addition, and not within the scope of your average long distance tourer. Certainly it's inclusion meant that the programme straddled both the cycling and the mountaineering sectors.

    I've no objection to Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins earning a living from riding a bike - so how can I find fault with Mark Beaumont?
    T Farr
  • I'm with nickice on it all ending up abit overplayed - like they were 'bigging it all up' so folk who don't cycle can go cor! thats guys off his rocker, living life on the edge etc etc.

    Really though it would have been so much better to see him in constant danger, fighting for his life, collapsing off his bike because he hasnt eaten properly and dehydrated. Having rocks thrown at him. Having chavs come up behind him in cars and laughing at him, having to walk miles with his bike as nothing to fix his punctures with.

    You could see early signs of slowly going insane playing on his face when set up for long journey parts with no-one to talk to except 'the guy in black who constantly rides with him'.

    What cycle touring is really all about. :)

    Go for it Mark! Do a Charlie Boorman and milk it! milk it! milk it! - It's for charidee mate!
    'since the flaming telly's been taken away, we don't even know if the Queen of Englands gone off with the dustman'.
    Lizzie Birdsworth, Episode 64, Prisoner Cell Block H.
  • roryboyroryboy Posts: 44
    Yup, i'm with Nickice on this one, nothing really out of the ordinary.
    A really nice guy and every time something cycle related is on t.v then thats good enough for me. when you think of past travellers that were badgered in to writing books when real travel books were not around as much as today, Travels with rosinante, a gringos journey, ian hibbert etc. the money and deals are not what drove these guys, the real adventure under ones own steam with no backup whatsoever was the driving force behind the past travel books. however if it encourages some people that may think, Wow i want to try that, then thats a positive for cycling.
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    I think the major problem was that there just won't have been the footage. As you can see from the program, Mark filmed most of the stuff himself - ie holding the cam with one hand whilst filming. He will therefore not have been able to film in true life and death or dangerous scenarios for obvious reasons, he will also have been limited in both battery life and film (presumably memory card) timing.

    The out of the ordinary bit was the fact that he is (I think still) the world record holder for around the world cycling. He also climbed the highest peaks in N and S America as well as cycling between the two which hasn't been done. Yes, I agree that there is a tenuous link between the two, but there it is.

    Mark B makes no bones about the fact that he doesn't have any great burning love or passion for cycling - he is part of a new generation of "adventure tourists" who fund their madcap dreams by whatever means they can. This means not everyone likes their style - but actually I feel that the more people who get out there and do these things, the easier it will be for everyone else.

    I agree with some of what Nickice says, but the litmus test for me is - would I rather watch Mark Beaumont ride across America for an hour a week, or would I rather watch yet another interminable reality tv contest? I know what the answer is. I think what Nickice is saying is that he would have liked it to have been MORE professional in some ways - and then less so in others!
  • The only thing to do is Ride around the world and set the fastest time
  • Giant JonGiant Jon Posts: 49
    Why moan about him? He rode a bike around the world and got slated because he had sponsors. What do the rider's in the Tour De France do?? Are we to ban the term 'pro-cyclist'?

    He cycled through some countries in which Spanish was spoken... when he cycled round the world he went through a whole load of countries where there was a language barrier, is he supposed to learn them all - afterall he's not making a travel documentary, is he?

    Why don't people stop moaning about somebody who's got off his backside and gone cycling, afterall, isn't that what we all do anyway? What's unique about Mark Beaumont is not that he rode a bike, it's that he made a film about it, and showed it to anybody who wanted to watch. You don't have to watch it. Why not go and make your own? Show us how it's done... The only thing he is guilty of is making it possible
  • Tim FarrTim Farr Posts: 665
    Well said Jon
    T Farr
  • Couldnt agree more, well said Giant Jon.

    As the very last thing Mark says on his latest TV cycling documentary to be aired on Scottish TV - 'I did it'
    'since the flaming telly's been taken away, we don't even know if the Queen of Englands gone off with the dustman'.
    Lizzie Birdsworth, Episode 64, Prisoner Cell Block H.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    Giant Jon wrote:
    Why moan about him? He rode a bike around the world and got slated because he had sponsors. What do the rider's in the Tour De France do?? Are we to ban the term 'pro-cyclist'?

    He cycled through some countries in which Spanish was spoken... when he cycled round the world he went through a whole load of countries where there was a language barrier, is he supposed to learn them all -after all he's not making a travel documentary, is he?

    Why don't people stop moaning about somebody who's got off his backside and gone cycling, afterall, isn't that what we all do anyway? What's unique about Mark Beaumont is not that he rode a bike, it's that he made a film about it, and showed it to anybody who wanted to watch. You don't have to watch it. Why not go and make your own? Show us how it's done... The only thing he is guilty of is making it possible

    Also, I don't think we're moaning about him: we're moaning about the fact that the documentary could have been so much better.

    I think telling people to "make their own documentary" is just a silly attitude to have. I don't think it is wrong to expect a certain level of quality from a programme that is aired nationally and your licence fee pays for. In the same way that I can criticise a professional footballer for not playing well, I feel I can criticise a man who made a TV programme about cycling the Americas: I am not trying to pass myself off as either and I don't make a living from it.

    And who begrudges him sponsorship? I didn't say that and didn't notice anyone else say that. My point was that, standing to make a bit of money from it,I would have expected him to learn more Spanish before he went. Obviously it is impractical to learn every language when going round the world, but he didn't make a documentary about it. If he did the trip alone without tv then that is his business. However if he's going through countries where at least one of the official languages is English or Spanish and he's making a documentary about it, then expect him to have a good level of Spanish. Imagine a Mexican were cycling across Britain and only had a basic level of Spanish, what insight do you think he would be able to offer viewers in Spanish-speaking countries?

    I'd question whether it wasn't a travel documentary: it certainly appeared to be attempting to be at points. Why else would it show him going to the bullfight etc?

    Nobody is saying it was a bad programme. All I am saying is that it could have been better. I'd rather watch it than most other programmes but that doesn't mean it was perfect.
  • Giant JonGiant Jon Posts: 49
    Nickice: You're moaning about the documentary he made, apologies I was not specific enough with my language.

    So 'make your own' is a silly attitude?? Surely this is how most human made things are improved upon. I'm sure the guys at Hope would disagree with you there, it is pretty much how their company came into being. Perhaps walking a mile in a certain person's mocassins might aid your understanding of his seemingly poor film making, rather than just saying it was not up to your standards.

    Sorry, when I say Sponsorship, it should have read (in your words, not mine): "probably some kind of book, the cash from his talks, sponsorship before and after and if he plays his cards right a lot more endorsements and advertisements in the future. I am not saying he'll be a millionaire (though with a good agent that wouldn't be that unlikely) but most people would have been delighted with just having the trip paid for." If you're not having a go at him making money, then what were you trying to say?? Oh, and he did make a documentary about cycling round the world, it was a four-parter shown just after he had completed the trip. Funnily enough, all it showed was him cycling round the world. Perhaps it was the success of this format that misguided poor Mr Beaumont into making a second one...

    Travel documentary? Surely that would include all details of costs of flights/accomodation/armed backup/ferries/climbing equipment rental, and details of things to go and see. The bull fight and horse riding were just clips of what he did whilst on the road, kindof threw a bit of variation into the whole cycling thing... It was a programme about HIS trip. And I found it quite interesting.
  • T.C.T.C. Posts: 495
    agree i enjoyed it, going to sunny Rhyl to see him 13th may
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    Giant Jon wrote:
    Nickice: You're moaning about the documentary he made, apologies I was not specific enough with my language.

    So 'make your own' is a silly attitude?? Surely this is how most human made things are improved upon. I'm sure the guys at Hope would disagree with you there, it is pretty much how their company came into being. Perhaps walking a mile in a certain person's mocassins might aid your understanding of his seemingly poor film making, rather than just saying it was not up to your standards.

    Sorry, when I say Sponsorship, it should have read (in your words, not mine): "probably some kind of book, the cash from his talks, sponsorship before and after and if he plays his cards right a lot more endorsements and advertisements in the future. I am not saying he'll be a millionaire (though with a good agent that wouldn't be that unlikely) but most people would have been delighted with just having the trip paid for." If you're not having a go at him making money, then what were you trying to say?? Oh, and he did make a documentary about cycling round the world, it was a four-parter shown just after he had completed the trip. Funnily enough, all it showed was him cycling round the world. Perhaps it was the success of this format that misguided poor Mr Beaumont into making a second one...

    Travel documentary? Surely that would include all details of costs of flights/accomodation/armed backup/ferries/climbing equipment rental, and details of things to go and see. The bull fight and horse riding were just clips of what he did whilst on the road, kindof threw a bit of variation into the whole cycling thing... It was a programme about HIS trip. And I found it quite interesting.



    I had commented that he would have been making money out of it and someone asked where the money would have been made from. I gave my guess as to where he would make the money from (which was what you quoted). Like I said, I wasn't having a go at him getting sponsored ( he'd be crazy not to try to get sponsorship). I was complaining that given the amount of money he was standing to make, he might have put a bit more effort into learning Spanish as, in my opinion, it would have made for a better and more insightful documentary. Do you disagree that the programme would have been better if he has been able to speak more Spanish? Giving it an everyday analogy, I don't complain about paying a plumber for a job well done, but I would complain about paying one who did shoddy work. Does this mean that I am complaining about paying plumbers or about someone not doing a good job?

    I can only conclude that you must have not travelled much, read many books or seen many travel documentaries in order to find the off-bike segments interesting. But each to their own. if you liked that bit, good for you: I didn't. I found it pretty boring in the USA and Canada and even more boring in the Spanish-speaking countries. No one is trying to make us change our opinions. I still stand by my comments that it was also attempting to be a travel documentary. I don't know how many you've watched (for something really interesting from Spain and South America i'd recommend Michael Portillo's efforts in particular) but the things you listed are not pre-requisites for such a documentary. They're basically about going places. meeting the local people, and finding out more about the local culture and customs. That's exactly what Mark Beaumont attempted to do. He's clearly not a good journalist and I think the programme suffered because of that.

    As for "make your own" not being a silly attitude, I can only reiterate what I said earlier: I am not passing myself off someone making a documentary about cycling across the Americas. All credit to the guy for managing to raise money and sponsorship to do it but it's simply not something I can do right now. You're saying that I have to try it out in order to see that it wasn't a substandard documentary? Maybe if I did try it, I would see that. Like a lot of things in life, it might be easier said than done but then again maybe not. I can only make a judgement on what shows on the final cut and I wasn't particularly impressed. Could I do better? Probably not (although I certainly speak Spanish better so) but I don't think that invalidates my opinion. I am sure I couldn't make a better episode of Eastenders than the BBC but that doesn't mean I can't think it's tosh.
  • CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    If you have nothing nice to say it is worth not saying anything at all.

    Your posts have come across as very negative which is what you were trying to portray (obviously or you wouldn't have typed what you did).

    I think the point being made is that sounding off making out Mark made a documentary that was poor and badly made when you could have potentially (I accept you said you may not be able to however the rest of the tone of your comments implied you could) made a better one is really not adding to the discussion.

    I know plenty of people who could do all maner of amazing things. They never actually do them though. Also, sneering that people have 'presumably not travelled much' again doesn't really help. You don't know anything about what they have or have not done.

    I am sure you have answers to all my points. I just couldn't really help but comment as I get really frustrated when people just moan about others achievements.
  • amaferangaamaferanga Posts: 6,789
    nickice

    You can't get away with any negative comments on Beaumont here with all the fanboys around, even if it is just an opinion. Sad but true :roll:
    More problems but still living....
  • sbaywatchsbaywatch Posts: 17
    I didn't really like this documentary either. Just thought it didn't flow and wasn't that well put together. I couldn't do any better but this is prime time TV and I expect better

    I should say I am a great fan of Mark, watched his previous docs many times and read his book many times. I also find him incredibly inspiring and seems a nice guy.

    However I've got these 3 episodes on Sky Plus and I doubt whether I would watch them again. Though I will buy the book when it comes out.
  • CyclingBantamCyclingBantam Posts: 1,299
    amaferanga wrote:
    nickice

    You can't get away with any negative comments on Beaumont here with all the fanboys around, even if it is just an opinion. Sad but true :roll:

    Yawn...
  • Giant JonGiant Jon Posts: 49
    Nickice: so basically you didn't like it, just like Eastenders. Fair enough, each to their own.

    Don't judge my travel experience based on two comments I have written in response to what you wrote. I am writing purely about a programme that Mark Beaumont made, not my own personal life history. You could have visited every country in the world and spoken to every person in them for all I care, only then would you have your all encompassing insightful view of the world. Mark Beaumont never claimed he was going to provide you with an accurate view of life in the America's, he just cycled them. Call me anti-social, but I don't stop every hundred yards when I'm on a bike ride to gain a bit more insight into the living conditions of the British people. Unfortunately I'm just not particularly interested. But then that is again my opinion, just like you would have preferred him to do so. I doubt we'll ever agree on that.

    And just to clarify, I did not find the bull-fighting interesting, nor did I find it particularly interesting when he was climbing the mountains. But I did find, on the whole, the programme quite interesting. But then I also don't find Eastenders interesting, nor Match of the Day, nor Strictly Come Dancing, or a wide range of programmes that the BBC broadcasts at primetime. But I don't sit around complaining about them, I just don't watch them. What I would expect is that the many people who do watch them and enjoy them immensely would defend the programmes. I doubt many of them are actors, or professional footballers, or dancers. But that does not stop them enjoying the programme.

    amafaranga: Fanboy's?? If you don't like it when somebody disagrees with you, then don't post on a forum. I don't expect people to agree with what I say, I'm just offering another point of view. I don't expect Nickice to agree with it, I just don't agree with their opinion. If you have an opinion, why not let us know what it is? You never know, somebody else might agree with you.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    BenBlyth If you have nothing nice to say..." If you're talking about my comments to bigjon then that's fair enough. However, if you're talking about my comments about Mark Beaumont (and I think that is the more likely scenario) then I think you should read through all my comments again. I am not belittling his achievement at all. I am criticizing the documentary he made about it. Maybe it was the BBC's fault. I don't know. The point is if you get a documentary on prime time TV then you should be open to criticism. Surely there is nothing wrong with that? Should movie reviewers only write positive comments about a film? Do you ever complain about a footballer not playing well? Do you ever moan about trains being late? Do you think you couldn't do the job better but still complain? I am sure Mark Beaumont is thick-skinned enough to take the criticism. If you put yourself in the public eye and make money from the public then you are open to criticism. Besides, the thread is about the documentary. I am not walking up to him in the street and complaining about it. That would be rude, in my opinion. Someone started a thread about the documentary and I am adding my opinion. So what if it is partly negative? Using your logic it should just all be praise.

    I don't know why you think I am implying I could make a better documentary than him? I was basically reviewing it and saying things that could have been better. The only thing I am sure about is that I speak better Spanish than he does. The fact that he didn't learn more Spanish showed a certain lack of professionalism and preparation on his part. I found it quite cringe worthy when he went to a restaurant in Mexico and couldn't get past "do you have pizza" in Spanish. I am sure he was well-prepared for the actual journey but his Spanish was an area that needed attention and didn't get it.


    [/b]bigjon Sorry if I offended you but you have said that you weren't a big fan of the bullfights and mountain climbs so the comment about not having read travel books etc doesn't really apply to you. I guess my point, although it wasn't worded well, was that we live in a small world today so what might have been amazing or awe-inspiring a few years ago is just seen as slightly interesting today. I am not talking about the achievement if cycling the Americas, I am talking about the programme's off-bike sections. A lot of people have been down that way and a lot of other much better documentaries have been made. I was just surprised that you thought Mark Beaumont's off-bike parts were that interesting considering the aforementioned. You're right; I do have the option of just switching off. It's just that I like cycling and was looking forward to watching the documentary. There's a certain section of society I think I already said that I liked it but I just thought he could have made it so much better.

    sbaywatch: Couldn't agree more. That's my point exactly. It's on TV prime time and you expect a certain level of quality. I don't moan about Eastenders because I'm not a soap-opera fan but we make up the target-audience for this programme so we have a right to have an opinion.

    anafaranga: Put slightly less diplomatically than I would have written but more or less spot on with respect to some other posters.

    Just generally, I'd summarise the points of we "moaners"

    1) Does Mark Beaumont seem like a nice guy? Yes

    2) Is it an achievement to cycle the Americas? Yes, but we'd probably qualify that by saying that people do it ever year. It's an achievement nonetheless, hoiwever.

    3) Was the documentary well made? Not really.

    4) Could it have been made better? Yes, definitely.
  • nickicenickice Posts: 2,439
    Feel free to criticise my lack of command of the bold option!
  • Giant JonGiant Jon Posts: 49
    nickice wrote:
    Feel free to criticise my lack of command of the bold option!

    I would, but I've only just figured out how to quote on this thing :D

    I think your summary on the previous post was perfect! It's been nice arguing with you these last few days, cheers

    Jon
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