Bald and Bankrupt

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Benjamin Rich
Personal information
Born (1974-07-01) 1 July 1974 (age 49)
  • Travel vlogger
  • author
YouTube information
Also known as
  • Arthur Chichester
  • Mr. Bald
Years active2018–present
GenreTravel vlog
Subscribers4.08 million[1]
Total views641 million[1]
1,000,000 subscribers2019

Last updated: 4 April 2024

Bald and Bankrupt is an English travel vlog YouTube channel operated by Benjamin Rich (born 1 July 1974),[2] who is better known as Mr. Bald on his YouTube channel. As of April 2024, the channel has 261 videos, 4.08 million subscribers and 637 million views.[3]


The defining characteristic of Rich's channel is his interest in the post-Soviet states.[4] However, he first started vlogging from India after filing for bankruptcy in the UK due to a failed business venture, which (alongside his shaved head) inspired the name of his channel.[5][6] Ever since he ventured into Eastern Europe, the attention to his videos has increased.[5]

On 12 April 2018, under the pen name Arthur Chichester, Rich released the book The Burning Edge: Travelling Through Irradiated Belarus about his experiences travelling through the parts of Belarus affected by the Chernobyl disaster.[7]

Rich's video about a trip to Patamanta in Bolivia was reported by Gizmodo Español as "more scary than entering Chernobyl".[8] In the video, he informed a local woman that he was a tourist, prompting her to warn him that "they burn people" in the area.[8] Two men later approached Rich, inspected his passport, and gave him 30 minutes to explore and leave the area.[8][9]

Following a November 2019 video filmed on a train to Chechnya, Rich was forced to apologise on camera by Chechen authorities for referring to a Chechen woman as a "chick", which the Chechen authorities claimed was disparaging.[10][11][12]

In May 2020, after exploring no-lockdown areas during the COVID-19 pandemic in Serbia, Rich disappeared for two months.[13] He later revealed that he had caught COVID-19, and that he could not walk to the bathroom or breathe by the time he sought medical attention. He learned that he had low blood oxygen and was suffering from multiple organ failure before spending a week in an intensive care unit.[13] After uploading a video about his illness, treatment, and recovery, he urged fans not to make the same mistakes and to take the virus seriously.[13]

On 7 May 2022, Rich was allegedly arrested at the Baikonur Cosmodrome for unsanctioned entry to a guarded site, an administrative offence that was punished with a fine of up to 5,000 roubles.[14][15][16][17] Rich denied the reports and stated he was fined by Russian police after being questioned for a few hours for going to see the Buran spaceplane without permission.[18]

On 1 September 2022, Rich posted a vlog to his Bald and Bankrupt YouTube channel announcing he had been arrested and subsequently ordered to leave Russia; he announced that it would be his final video covering travels through Russia, as he had been banned from returning. Months later Rich confirmed on Instagram that his ban had been lifted.[2][19] He previously called Vladimir Putin "crazy" and posted a link to fundraise for Ukraine.[20]


Rich's content has attracted coverage in various national media, particularly publications in the towns and regions he visits. New Delhi publication The New Learn reported on Rich's travels in India in January 2019.[21] They praised his visits to refugee camps for Hindus in North Delhi stranded after the crisis in Pakistan, describing his videos as "introducing the world to an India that is real and authentic, where people still open up their lunch boxes to strangers, where tea is the beginning of lifelong associations, where trust means more than money and where there is vibrancy everywhere".[21]

In March 2019, Hindustan Times reported on how he exposed scams against tourists in Delhi Airport, from inflated prices to rickshaw drivers and false claims.[22] In June 2019, Rich was discussed in the Slovak press for his visit to Luník IX, which he described as "Europe's largest poor Roma neighbourhood".[23] The article described how, despite warnings about the estate being among the most dangerous in Europe, he was welcomed by local people who spoke fluent English and invited him to their homes, which he described as "better than [his] apartment in Britain".[23]

Afisha Daily journalist Lyubava Zaitseva wrote about Rich's choice of Russian destinations in September 2019, stating that even its Russian readers had "not seen such Russia"[24] and praising him for "trying to distance himself from tourist places" and showing cities "from the inside, communicating with local residents".[24]


  • Chichester, Arthur (2018). The Burning Edge : Travels Through Irradiated Belarus. ISBN 978-1-9807-8751-8. OCLC 1107791946.


  1. ^ a b "About bald and bankrupt". YouTube.
  2. ^ a b "Brighton YouTuber 'kicked out and banned from Russia' after being 'arrested'". SussexLive. 2 September 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2022.
  3. ^ "bald and bankrupt – YouTube". Retrieved 25 May 2022.
  4. ^ "The British journalist is wildly delighted with Moldova". TATIANA VLADIMIR. 15 April 2019. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  5. ^ a b Rayamajhee, Veeshan; Professor, Assistant (23 April 2020). "Spotlight on Economics: Economics lessons from Bald and Bankrupt". Jamestown Sun. Archived from the original on 25 August 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  6. ^ McEnchroe, Tom (9 December 2020). ""Prague is the most liveable city"–YouTuber Bald and Bankrupt on his new home and Soviet fascination". Retrieved 17 August 2021.
  7. ^ Chichester, Arthur (2018). The burning edge: travels through irradiated Belarus. Independently Published. ISBN 978-1-9807-8751-8. OCLC 1107791946. Archived from the original on 28 April 2021. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Cuando una excursión a la montaña en Bolivia da más miedo que adentrarse en Chernóbil". Gizmodo en Español (in European Spanish). 22 October 2019. Archived from the original on 28 December 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  9. ^ "'DangerTubers' Are the World's New Amateur Explorers". VICE. 14 May 2020. Archived from the original on 13 September 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  10. ^ "Chechnya: practice of public apologies spread to foreign tourists". Caucasian Knot. Archived from the original on 26 June 2020. Retrieved 24 June 2020.
  11. ^ "Английский блогер извинился за то, что назвал чеченок "цыпочками"". RFE/RL (in Russian). 8 November 2019. Archived from the original on 29 December 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  12. ^ EurasiaTimes (8 January 2020). "Chechnya markets warfare tourism". EurasiaTimes. Archived from the original on 24 January 2020. Retrieved 24 January 2020.
  13. ^ a b c O'Sullivan, Eilish (11 July 2020). "YouTuber Bald and Bankrupt shares his 'COVID-19 nightmare' after exploring no-lockdown areas". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on 12 August 2020. Retrieved 16 August 2020.
  14. ^ "На Байконуре задержали гражданина Великобритании и гражданку Белоруссии". Izvestia (in Russian). 7 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  15. ^ "British YouTube star "Bald and Bankrupt" arrested in Kazakhstan". BNO News. 7 May 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  16. ^ "На Байконуре задержали известного блогера, ведущего канал Bald and bankrupt, и гражданку Беларуси". ZERKALO.IO (in Russian). 7 May 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  17. ^ "Рогозин заявил о задержании на Байконуре британского блогера". Meduza (in Russian). 7 May 2022. Retrieved 7 May 2022.
  18. ^ "Benjamin Rich: British YouTuber denies reports of being arrested in Kazakhstan". Deutsche Welle. 8 May 2022. Retrieved 8 May 2022.
  19. ^ Rich, Ben. "The Journey Is Over". YouTube. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  20. ^ "Why was Bald and Bankrupt 'kicked out of Russia'?". Indy100. 21 September 2022.
  21. ^ a b Says, Piki (19 January 2019). "Meet Mr. Bald and Bankrupt: when an 'Outsider' Sees More Than an Insider |". The New Leam. Archived from the original on 28 December 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  22. ^ "There's no such thing as a free elephant, and other tourist scams being busted on YouTube". Hindustan Times. 16 March 2019. Archived from the original on 18 August 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  23. ^ a b ""Toto je Slovensko?" Pozrite sa, ako známy britský youtuber predstavil svetu košický Luník IX". (in Slovak). 22 July 2019. Archived from the original on 28 December 2019. Retrieved 28 December 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Британец снимает свое путешествие по всему СНГ. Такой России вы еще не видели". Афиша. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021. Retrieved 28 December 2019.

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