Charley Boorman

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Charley Boorman
Charley Boorman at Waterstone's.jpg
Born Charley Boorman
(1966-08-23) 23 August 1966 (age 50)
Wimbledon, London, England
Occupation Writer, television presenter, traveller
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) Olivia Boorman (1990–present)
Children Doone

Charley Boorman (born 23 August 1966) is an English TV presenter, travel writer and actor. He is known for his enthusiasm for motorbikes, as demonstrated in several documentaries of his travels, including two with his friend, actor Ewan McGregor.

Early life and background[edit]

Born in Wimbledon, southwest London, Boorman spent much of his formative years in County Wicklow, Ireland. Boorman is the son of German costume designer Christel Kruse and film director John Boorman.[1]

Boorman was educated at independent schools, attending three in the Republic of Ireland: St Gerard's School in Bray, Co Wicklow; St. Kilian's Deutsche Schule (English name: 'St. Kilian's German School') in Dublin and St. Oliver Plunkett School in Malahide, County Dublin. He then attended Sibford School, a Quaker school near Banbury, Oxfordshire, England from 1980 until 1983, where he received extra lessons in a specialist department catering for pupils with dyslexia.[2]

He is married to Olivia with whom he has two daughters, Doone and Kinvara. He resides in Barnes, south London.

Acting career[edit]

Boorman got an early start in the film business appearing in films directed by his father. He first appeared in Deliverance (1972), played a young Mordred in Excalibur (1981) (joined by his older sister Katrine Boorman who played Ygraine, Mordred's grandmother), then in 1985 played a leading role in The Emerald Forest. In 1987 he had a non-speaking role as a young German Luftwaffe pilot parachuting into a small village in Hope and Glory (his sister Katrine also appeared in that film).

His more recent acting appearances include The Serpent's Kiss (1997) on which he met Ewan McGregor, and The Bunker (2001).

Theatre show[edit]

In 2007, Boorman appeared on stage in Newcastle upon Tyne at the Tyne Theatre. The 'evening with' style show then went on a tour around the UK and Ireland in 2010. Just about this time Boorman revealed he had testicular cancer. Caught early, he had a testicle removed and has since been a strong supporter of Movember – an event that focuses on this disease. Boorman was given the all-clear, but continued telling audiences across the country about his ordeal, encouraging more men to be aware and get checked out early if there was any concern. In 2011, the Charley Boorman Live show toured the UK and Ireland again, following a similar format to the first tour but without support acts.

Boorman also began promoting African Adventures, which are commercial 17-day BMW motorcycle trips across Africa. Taking 50 riders from Cape Town to Victoria Falls, Boorman used various technologies to help promote the trip – including a GPS Satellite tracking device allowing people to follow the trip day by day.

Charity work[edit]

Boorman has been actively supporting the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) since 2004, carrying out a number of visits to UNICEF projects, the majority of which have been integrated into his television programmes Long Way Round, Long Way Down and By Any Means. In 2009, Boorman was made president of Dyslexia Action; being dyslexic himself, Boorman is passionate about the cause and is keen to help the charity achieve its vision of a world where barriers are removed for those with dyslexia and other specific learning difficulties. Boorman has been on many visits to Dyslexia Action's regional centres and was actively involved in the charity's appeal "It's ME!". He also supported its whole school initiative "P4L" (Partnership for Literacy). Boorman recently participated in a live web chat for the charity where he answered questions about his dyslexia and his various adventures.[3]

In 2009, Boorman went to Helmand Province, Afghanistan and visited troops. Kandahar and Bastion were the two key camps he visited, just before Christmas. He was reported to be "humbled" by meeting troops and has since been involved in related fund raising projects, in particular for Help for Heroes.

In February 2014 and November 2016 Charley presented Gold Duke of Edinburgh's Awards [1] at St. James's Palace, on behalf of HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, as part of his support for the charity.

Presenting career[edit]

Long Way Round[edit]

Main article: Long Way Round

In 2004, Ewan McGregor and Boorman decided to embark on an epic journey taking them from London to New York, which resulted in the hit television show Long Way Round, an international motorbike trip from London to New York City via Europe and Asia.[4] This was recorded, then later made into a television series, book and DVD. The series was shown around the world and the DVD and book became best sellers.

Race to Dakar[edit]

Main article: Race to Dakar

Along with producer Russ Malkin (from Long Way Round) and a motorbike team, Boorman competed in the 2006 Dakar Rally in January 2006. The event was filmed and the series Race to Dakar began on Sky2 in the United Kingdom in October 2006. During the rally Boorman injured himself and was forced to retire from the race after five days.[5]

Long Way Down[edit]

Main article: Long Way Down

In 2007, he started another journey with McGregor: Long Way Down,[6] a trip from John o' Groats in Scotland, to Cape Town, South Africa. This was televised on BBC2 starting in October 2007.[7] During this initial programme, it became public knowledge that Charley's wife was undergoing treatment for pneumonia, but had insisted that Charley complete the trip in any case.

By Any Means[edit]

Main article: By Any Means
Boorman in 2008

In 2008, Boorman started By Any Means, which started in his hometown in County Wicklow, Ireland, ending in Sydney.[8] He set out to complete the journey "by any means", using local transport appropriate to the area being travelled, and using air travel only when necessary.[9]

Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means[edit]

In 2009, Boorman undertook a journey titled Right to the Edge: Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means, travelling from Sydney to Tokyo via the Pacific Rim. The programme documenting this trip has been shown on BBC2 in the UK.

World's Most Dangerous Roads: Alaska[edit]

Boorman appeared with Sue Perkins in Series 1 of the BBC TV series World's Most Dangerous Roads: Alaska, shown in 2011, in which they drove the Dalton Highway.[10]

Charley Boorman's Extreme Frontiers[edit]

In 2011, Boorman presented a prime-time adventure series for the UK's Channel 5, Charley Boorman's Extreme Frontiers. This show was another collaboration between Boorman and producer-director Russ Malkin, who made frequent on-screen appearances. Rather than a journey, Extreme Frontiers aimed to 'take in all four extremities of Canada'. The show spawned a follow-up book and DVD, Extreme Frontiers: Racing Across Canada from Newfoundland and Labrador to the Rockies.

In 2012, Boorman continued the series in a South African setting. From 9 June to 22 July 2012, Boorman and his team journeyed around South Africa on two BMW R1200GS motorcycles and a Nissan Pathfinder.[11]

Charley Boorman's USA Adventure[edit]

Charley and the boys returned on Channel 5 at the end of 2013 for his latest adventure, starting in Hawaii, Charlie moves to Alaska, then to the Eastern seaboard and down to the Southern states, inland to the Gulf of Mexico, up again to the Rockies and finishing on the Pacific Coast at Los Angeles

Charley Boorman's Mexican Adventure[edit]

Charley announced at Goodwood filming would begin in October (of what year?) for the fourth series in Mexico.

Third Long Way series[edit]

Boorman has said he has plans to join forces again with McGregor to do a third 'Long Way' series, to be entitled Long Way Up, starting at the tip of South America and ending in Alaska, but no date for production has been announced.[12][13] Boorman told Shave Magazine, "It is mostly down to timing. Ewan's an incredibly busy A-list actor and that is his job first and foremost. He is on a roll at the moment. The Long Way trips take a good nine months out of your time through the preparation and the trip itself, that is a long commitment for Ewan. We have always spoken about doing the third trip Long Way Up, going through South America, we would love to do that."[14]

In a June 2015 interview, McGregor indicated that the long discussed South American trip with Boorman was still in the planning stages, but he expected that an excursion through Baja California Peninsula would take place first.[15]






  1. ^ "John Boorman Biography (1933–)". Retrieved 5 May 2009. 
  2. ^ Daily Mail Weekend Interview. 16 June 2012, p6
  3. ^ "Charley Boorman becomes Dyslexia Action President". Retrieved 28 January 2010. 
  4. ^ Long Way Round official website Archived 10 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ Charley Boorman (2006) Race to Dakar. Time Warner Books. ISBN 978-0-316-02711-3
  6. ^ The Long Way Down official Site
  7. ^ BBC Long Way Down microsite
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-29.  Itinerary on official BigEarth site
  9. ^ interview Archived 26 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "BBC Two – World's Most Dangerous Roads, Series 1, Alaska". BBC. Retrieved 11 December 2012. 
  11. ^ "Extreme Frontiers South Africa". Retrieved 14 November 2012. 
  12. ^ Hull, Rob (9 August 2007). "Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman reveal Long Way Up is on the cards". Motorcycle News. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  13. ^ "The world according to Charley Boorman". London: 4 September 2010. Retrieved 5 September 2010. 
  14. ^ Appleby, Stuart. "Interview: Charley Boorman". Retrieved 16 May 2012. 
  15. ^ "Ewan McGregor secures sponsorship deal for South American road trip". 2015-06-07. Retrieved 2015-06-07. 
  • Holmstrom, John. The Moving Picture Boy: An International Encyclopaedia from 1895 to 1995. Norwich, Michael Russell, 1996, p. 363.

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