In 1955, six Oxford and Cambridge university graduates set out to make history by driving 19,000 miles from London to Singapore in two 86-inch Land Rover station wagons. Prior to departure, the team approached a BBC producer named David Attenborough for film reels, which were transformed into Attenborough’s Travellers’ Tales, a television series that aired after the expedition’s successful completion. I’m sure most of you are familiar with expedition member Tim Slessor’s book, The First Overland, which has become a classic in many libraries spanning the globe and has inspired generations of overland travelers since its publication.
One such traveler was filmmaker Alex Bescoby. Watching a BBC tribute to mark the First Overland’s 50th anniversary in 2005, Sir David Attenborough regretfully remarked that the London to Singapore expedition was “a journey that I don’t think could be made again today.” The words sparked something in Alex, who contacted a then eighty-six-year-old Slessor to recreate the First Overland expedition, this time from Singapore to London in one of the original 1955 Land Rover station wagons, “Oxford.” “‘Prove Sir David Attenborough wrong’ is not a life goal that will win you many friends,” Bescoby wrote for metro.co.uk.
The legacy of the Oxford and Cambridge Far Eastern Expedition continues with the release of a new multi-part series, The Last Overland, which chronicles the team’s trip across 13,000 miles and 23 countries, in which absolutely nothing went to plan from the start.
Visit lastoverland.comfor more information.
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