Banged Up Abroad

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Banged Up Abroad
Banged Up Abroad.jpg
Title Screen
Also known as See International airings below
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of series 9
No. of episodes 81
Running time 60 minutes (with commercials)
Production company(s) Raw TV
Original network Channel 5 (UK)
National Geographic Channel
Picture format 16:9
Original release March 2006 – present

Banged Up Abroad (rebadged as Locked Up Abroad and Jailed Abroad in India for the National Geographic Channel) is a British documentary/docudrama television series created by Bart Layton that was produced for Channel 5 and that premiered in March 2006. Most episodes feature stories of people who have been arrested while travelling abroad, usually for trying to smuggle illegal drugs, although some episodes feature people who were either kidnapped or captured while they were either travelling or living in other countries. Some episodes have featured real-life stories that first became well-known when they were made the subject of a film: films that have been "re-made" in this way include Midnight Express, Goodfellas, The Devil's Double, Argo, Mr Nice, and, to a lesser extent (with the story of Frank Cullotta), Casino.

Eight series were broadcast, between 2006 and 2013. A ninth series was aired in 2016.

Episode format[edit]

The episodes typically contain a mixture of interviews with the real people and actors reconstructing the events. The convicted or captured are shown talking about their experiences, over dramatic reenactments of their respective experiences. The episodes focus on the events leading up to the arrest or time in captivity.

In a few cases, at the end of the episode, the convicted are shown sitting with handcuffs on, where they are still in jail.[1] In most cases, the convicted or captured have returned home from where they are telling their stories. In other cases, the convicted or captured are shown revisiting the country where the incident occurred.


Series 1 (2006)[edit]

Episode 1: Costa Rica/Mexico (Scott and Lucy's Story)
Scott Campbell and Lucy Baker are British travellers arrested in Mexico.
Episode 2: Thailand (The Sandra Gregory Story)
Sandra Gregory is arrested in Thailand trying to smuggle heroin into Japan.
Episode 3: Australia (Mark's Story)
Mark Knowles is arrested in Sydney after attempting to smuggle cocaine from the U.S. to Australia.
Episode 4: Venezuela/Margarita Island (Denis and Donald's Story)
Donald MacNeil, a yachtsman, is arrested after being pressured to collect an enormous, 30-million-pound shipment of cocaine. Later it was found that Edward Jarvis was the man named in the episode as "Frank"; he was later caught and arrested.[2]

Series 2 (2007)[edit]

Episode 1: Venezuela (James and Paul's Story)
Jim Miles and Paul Loseby, two British teenagers, are arrested in Venezuela for trying to smuggle drugs.
Episode 2: Peru (Krista and Jennifer's Story/Peruvian Prison Nightmare)
Krista Barnes and Jennifer Davis are two American women arrested for trying to smuggle cocaine out of Peru.
Episode 3: Nepal (Piers' Story)
Piers Hernu, a dual British-French traveller, is arrested trying to smuggle 28kg gold bullion from Hong Kong to Nepal.
Episode 4: Colombia (Glen's story)
Glen Heggstad, an American adventurer, is kidnapped by the Colombian National Liberation Army.

Series 3 (2008)[edit]

Episode 1: Kuwait (Scott's Story)
Scott White is arrested in Kuwait for selling hashish, then escapes from jail during the 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
Episode 2: Peru 2/Lima
Russell Thoresen, an American traveller, is arrested in Peru for trying to smuggle cocaine.
Episode 3: Bangladesh
Lia McCord, an American teenager, is arrested in Bangladesh for trying to smuggle heroin.
Episode 4: Pakistan
Amardeep Bassey, a British journalist on the way to Afghanistan for an assignment, is arrested in Pakistan and accused of being a spy.
Episode 5: Peru 3/Cuzco
Sarah Jackson convinces her friend Simon Burke to go to Peru with her in order to serve as her unwitting drug-smuggling accomplice. Jackson was in the middle of serving a seven-year sentence when the episode was produced.[3]
Episode 6: Taiwan
Taiwan's most-wanted criminal breaks into the house of McGill Alexander, a South African army colonel, and takes him and his family hostage.
Episode 7: Ecuador
An American, Daniel Van De Zande is arrested trying to smuggle cocaine from Ecuador to Europe.
Episode 8: South Korea
Cullen Thomas, working with his girlfriend "Rocket", is arrested trying to smuggle hashish from the Philippines to South Korea.

"Kidnapped Abroad" (2008)[edit]

In 2008, five additional episodes were produced, each one about a kidnapping, under the alternate title "Kidnapped Abroad".

Episode 1: Uganda/Death in the Jungle
Safari guide Mark Ross and his tour group are kidnapped by Hutu rebels in Uganda.
Episode 2: Chechnya/Nightmare in Chechnya
Jon James and Camilla Carr, who run a children's centre in Grozny, are kidnapped by Chechnyan soldiers, then raped and tortured.
Episode 3: India/Hostage to Terror
Rhys Partridge and Béla Nuss are kidnapped by British terrorist Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh while travelling in India.
Episode 4: Philippines: Fatal Mission/Kidnapped by Terrorists
Gracia and Martin Burnham are Christian missionaries in the Philippines who are kidnapped by members of Abu Sayyaf, a Muslim fundamentalist group.
Episode 5: Malaysia/Nightmare Vacation
Monique and Callie Strydom, while vacationing in Malaysia, are kidnapped by a Muslim militant group and held hostage for four months in the Philippines.

Series 4 (2009)[edit]

Episode 1: Caracas/Venezuela Blues
David Evans is arrested trying to smuggle drugs from Venezuela to Amsterdam.
Episode 2: Philippines/Terror Island/Kidnapped in the Philippines
Church volunteer Greg Williams is kidnapped and tortured by members of Abu Sayyaf.
Episode 3: Puerto Vallarta/Mexican Justice
Jake Libbon gets arrested in Mexico for selling marijuana, then is falsely accused of shooting two police officers.
Episode 4: Brazil/Brazil's Worst Prison/Busted in Brazil
Hollywood "party animal" Brendan Cosso and three friends are arrested trying to smuggle cocaine out of Brazil.
Episode 5: Indonesia/Escape from Hell/Busted In Bali
Chris Parnell is arrested in Indonesia after being accused of smuggling hashish.
Episode 6: Mexico/Boy From The Ghetto/Busted in Mexico
American teenager Alex Silva is arrested trying to smuggle marijuana from Mexico into the U.S.
Episode 7: Cuba/What's in The Bag
American Kahlilah Saleem is forced by her boyfriend to smuggle cocaine through Cuba in order to see her daughter.
Episode 8: Iraq/Kidnapped In Iraq
Journalists Scott Taylor and Zeynep Tugrul are kidnapped by insurgents who accuse them of being American spies.
Episode 9: Barbados/Busted and Pregnant
British teen Zara Whittaker is arrested at an airport trying to smuggle cocaine out of Barbados.
Episode 10: Ecuador/Master of Deception/Betrayed in Ecuador
Zoe McGarry, an Irish woman living in London, receives an eight-year prison sentence in Ecuador after the rucksack she was carrying is found to contain drugs. She was duped by someone who asked her for help.
Episode 11: Sierra Leone/Jungle Siege
Major Phil Ashby, tasked with disarming rebel fighters, becomes trapped and attempts a daring escape.
Episode 12: Jamaica/Jamaican Getaway
T.K. White and her girlfriend are sent to Kingston's notorious central prison after attempting to smuggle marijuana.
Episode 13: India/Delhi/Party Girl
Clare Matthews, a British woman on extended vacation in Goa, ends up in an Indian prison after attempting to mail hashish from Delhi.

Series 5 (2010)[edit]

Episode 1: Istanbul/The Real Midnight Express
The 1977 book Midnight Express, and the Oscar-winning 1978 film on which it was based, also called Midnight Express, told the story of 20-year-old college student Billy Hayes – his imprisonment for drug smuggling and his escape from a prison in Istanbul, Turkey. But for legal reasons, the book, which Hayes co-wrote, was not completely accurate; and the film version strayed even further from the truth, for artistic reasons. In this episode, Billy tells the full story of being sent to the infamous Turkish Sagmalcilar prison and eventually escaping.
Episode 2: Iraq/Human Shields In Iraq
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, Tom Lynch and his fellow contractors John White decided to get out of Iraq while they still could, but were captured by Iraqi soldiers and taken to a notorious prison in Baghdad, where they must listen to inmates being tortured to death.
Episode 3: Tokyo/Tokyo Takedown
After accepting an offer to work as a hostess in Japan, Jackie Nichols meets a charming Israeli drug smuggler and agrees to smuggle hashish with him. She gets away with it four times, but the fifth time, she's not so lucky.
Episode 4: Bangkok/Bangkok Underworld
A 28-year-old English teacher named Tim Schrader agrees to smuggle 8 kilos of heroin into the U.S. to solve his financial problems. Although he knows he could receive the death penalty, the money is too tempting to resist.
Episode 5: Spain/Sold My Soul
With his girlfriend pregnant, American musician Michael Morey agrees to smuggle cocaine from Quito to Spain. He barely makes it through Ecuadorian customs, but when he lands and goes through Spanish customs, he's not so lucky.
Episode 6: Panama/Colombia Ambush
Young American backpacker Mark Wedeven and his companions decide to cross from Panama to Colombia through the jungles of the Darién Gap, where they are kidnapped by a paramilitary group.

Series 6 (2011)[edit]

Episode 1: USA/The Real Goodfella
Henry Hill, the inspiration behind the classic film Goodfellas, relives his descent from Mafia wise guy to a spell in Terminal Island Penitentiary.
Episode 2: Saudi Arabia/Saudi Bootlegger
Gordon Malloch's bootleg booze racket fuelled a party lifestyle in Saudi Arabia, until he got caught and found himself facing four years in jail.
Episode 3: Philippines/Prisoner Of Love
Briton David Scott tells the story of finding his soulmate in the Philippines – and risking a 14-year prison sentence for adultery.
Episode 4: Mexico/Funny Money
After heading to Mexico with a suitcase of fake money to buy drugs, Californian bodybuilder Jeremy Khinoo found himself behind bars and in big trouble.
Episode 5: Mauritius /Heroin Sting
After being caught with a kilo of heroin in Mauritius, Brigene Young faced 45 years in jail (eventually serving 7 years) – unless she could help catch the drug traffickers.
Episode 6: Spain/Daredevil Drug Runner
The tale of Chris Chance, whose daredevil life smuggling cannabis into the UK concealed in a rubber body suit led to a nasty prison sentence at Carabanchel Prison.
Episode 7: Argentina/The Cocaine Trap
Stephen Sutton got caught up when he was offered $15,000 to transport cocaine disguised as gold – leading to an 11-year jail sentence.
Episode 8: Peru/Drug Dealer Revenge
Company director Robert Pringle got seven years in a violent South American lock-up after being pressured into drug smuggling by his dealer.
Episode 9: Colombia/Teenage Drug Smuggler
Vivian Carrasquillo faced a crash diet in jail after an attempt to raise funds for gastric bypass surgery by becoming a drug mule backfired.
Episode 10: Thailand/Backstabbed In Thailand
Military veteran Kim Hood faced a life behind bars in a squalid Thai prison after being caught smuggling 14 kilos of heroin with a friend.

Series 7 (2012)[edit]

Episode 1: Peru/Cocaine Mule Mom
Ruthie Lambert, a middle-aged mother of three, decides to smuggle drugs to make ends meet. She is imprisoned for years but eventually escapes by bribing a corrupt official.
Episode 2: Argentina/Escape From Argentina
Lucy Wright, a crack-addicted nursing student, faces 25 years in prison when she's caught trying to smuggle cocaine from Argentina to the UK.
Episode 3: Saudi Arabia/Dangerous Liaison
British nurse Stephen Comiskey, who takes a job in Saudi Arabia to support his family, draws the unwelcome attention of the Saudi religious police after a series of illicit gay affairs.
Episode 4: Guyana/Guadeloupe/Caribbean Nightmare
David and Jayne Bladen dreamed of a new life overseas but a nightmare journey of drug smuggling and violence culminate in 20 months behind bars.
Episode 5: Japan/The Juggler Smuggler
Travelling magician Mark Greening juggled a young family with a budding hash-smuggling business after moving to Japan – but he soon got caught.
Episode 6: Pakistan/From Hollywood To Hell
When young actor Erik Audé discovers that he was tricked into smuggling opium out of Pakistan, he has to fight to clear his name and stay alive
Episode 7: Mexico/Black Palace Of Horrors
After a horrific spell in Mexico's notorious Black Palace prison, would-be drug smuggler Dwight Worker vows to escape – or die trying.
Episode 8: Colombia/Colombian Kidnap
Reini Weigel, Erez Eltawil and six more backpackers are snatched by guerrillas in Colombia, they adopt different survival strategies: cooperation versus outright resistance.
Episode 9: Brazil/Hasidic King Of Coke
Orthodox Jew Samuel Leibowitz dreamt of making millions as a drug kingpin in Brazil, leading to a terrifying spell in the deadly Carandiru Penitentiary.
Episode 10: Nicaragua/I Am Not A Terrorist
Duane Wollum was about to make some easy money smuggling cocaine – until an airport security check revealed that he was concealing a package.
Episode 11: China/My Dad The Smuggler
Scott Campbell can't wait to take a trip to China with his estranged father. Little does he know that his father has something else planned.
Episode 12: Iraq/Son Of Saddam
The incredible story of how Iraqi soldier Latif Yahia was forced to become a body double for Uday Hussein, Saddam Hussein's highly volatile eldest son.
Episode 13: Chile/Chilean Prison Break
The gripping story of Tom Hanway who fled a Chilean jail with a fellow prisoner, taking a dangerous and fatal escape route across the desert.
Episode 14: Panama/The Orchid Hunters
The shocking story of Tom Hart Dyke and Paul Winder, two British backpackers who were ambushed and held to ransom by a guerilla group while crossing the notoriously dangerous Darien Gap.
Episode 15: Venezuela/Venezuela Hustle
Desperate to keep his family afloat, Paul Keany agrees to smuggle 6 kilos of cocaine from Venezuela back to Dublin but it turns out to be the worst decision of his life.
Episode 16: Iraq/Highway to Hell
Adventure-seeker Thomas Hamill took a job driving trucks in Iraq, leading to a terrifying spell in captivity after being kidnapped by insurgents.
Episode 17: Egypt/Not Without My Baby
When Susan Haglof forged a birth certificate after a shady adoption in Egypt, she faced the possibility of being imprisoned and losing her baby.
Episode 18: Somalia/Nightmare in Somalia
The terrifying story of photojournalist Nigel Brennan and reporter Amanda Lindhout who were held hostage for 15 months by a criminal gang in Somalia.
Episode 19: Thailand/Busted in Bangkok
Thrown into a notorious Bangkok prison for attempting to smuggle heroin, Angela Carnegie has an epiphany while nursing a fellow inmate with a drug addiction.
Episode 20: Russia/Escape from the Gulag
Caught trying to smuggle heroin, Jerry Amster found himself facing a lengthy spell in one of Russia's toughest labour camps.

Series 8 (2013)[edit]

Episode 1: Vietnam/POWs McCain & Brace

Ernie Brace is a civilian American pilot during the Vietnam War who was held as a prisoner of war for about eight years in Vietnam, including at the infamous "Hanoi Hilton". He communicated with fellow POW John McCain by tapping through the wall; the two never spoke face-to-face until after the war ended. The episode features interviews with both Brace and McCain.[4][5] This episode was blocked in Vietnam due to what the Vietnamese government called "inaccurate information" about the Viet Cong.

Episode 2: Belize/Snakes on a Plane

This episode tells the story of Tom Crutchfield, who is a reptile smuggler and under investigation during Operation Chameleon. He gets close to being caught in the United States, so he flees to Belize, where he ends up in prison there, until he gets deported back to the United States.

Episode 3: USA/Raving Arizona

Shaun Attwood moves from England to Arizona to become a stockbroker. However, he gets caught up in drugs, and eventually starts dealing. After some intimidation from a mafia boss, he goes back to being a stockbroker, but he gets a visit from the police.

Episode 4: Iraq/Buried Alive

This episode tells the story of Roy Hallums who gets kidnapped in Iraq.

Episode 5: Iran/The Real Argo

This episode tells the true account of the story that inspired the movie Argo about the Iran hostage crisis. This is the story of how American diplomats were rescued in Iran by the Canadian Embassy and the CIA after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Episode 6: Mexico/Mexican Prison Escape

This episode tells the story of five teenage Americans attempting to smuggle more than 2000 pounds of marijuana to the United States. After they get caught and placed in a Mexican prison, they plot a daring escape- excavating a 20m long tunnel under the prison.

Episode 7: Peru/Hippie Mafia

Eddie Padilla lives in Hawaii and supports himself with drug smuggling. However, during one of those trips, he gets caught in Peru and lands himself in a Peruvian prison called the House of the Devil.

Episode 8: USA/Vegas Mobster

Frank Cullotta is a mobster in Las Vegas who becomes well known for robberies. He is caught by the FBI thanks to an informant. He ends up becoming a witness against the mob and enters witness protection.

Episode 9: Fast, Furious and Busted

This episode takes place in the United States and tells the story of Rick Cedar from Spokane, Washington. Circumstances came up causing him to try to get more cash. He runs a con, but that con catches up to him. He goes further into crime to get what he needs.

Episode 10: USA/Hunting Mr. Nice

Howard Marks is a school teacher who enters into criminality when he helps a friend finish off a drug deal. The easy money turns him into a multi-national drug smuggler. One of his loads gets caught and he is now wanted and on the run. However, the law always catches up.

Series 9 (2016)[edit]

Episode 1: Mexico/Plane Crash Marijuana

In 1972, 19 year old American Jim Pap Rocki, a college graduate is convinced by his brother-in-law to join him on a drug run to Southern Mexico. All goes to plan until the cargo catches fire and they are forced to crash-land. Jim soon finds himself in Mazatlan State Prison, ‘one of the oldest, meanest, dirtiest jails in Mexico’.

Episode 2: Bangkok/Thai Prison Hell

In 1993, 25-year-old Australian Martin Garnett is already earning good money at a luxury car dealership in Sydney, but he's hungry for more. He is caught smuggling 4.7 kilos of heroin into Bangkok and is set to become Australia's longest serving prisoner overseas.

Episode 3: Colombia/Bogota Belly Bust

The story of 28-year-old Canadian Tabitha Ritchie, whose life took a terrifying turn when she was caught smuggling drugs out of Colombia.

Episode 4: Somalia/Somali Pirate Hostage Hell

The shocking story of South African couple Debbie Calitz and Bruno Pelizzari, who were kidnapped by Somali pirates and held captive for 20 terrifying months.

Episode 5: Philippines/Jungle Terror

The traumatic story of an American schoolboy and his mother, who were kidnapped by Abu Sayyaf, a jihadist group, in the Philippines and held for ransom in the jungle.

Episode 6: Libya/Gadaffi's American Prisoner

Captured by Gaddafi's men while fighting with rebels in Libya, Baltimore-born Matthew VanDyke spent nearly six months in solitary confinement.

International airings[edit]

Foreign title Network(s) Notes
 United Kingdom "Banged up Abroad" Channel 5 & National Geographic Channel Country of origin
 Albania "Të arrestuar jashtë shtetit" (eng: "Banged up abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Croatia "Zatočeni u inozemstvu" (eng : "Banged up abroad") National Geographic Channel, HRT2
 France "Voyage au bout de l'enfer" (eng : "Journey to the depths of hell") National Geographic Channel, Voyage
 Norway "Fengslet i Utlandet" (eng: "Imprisoned Abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Sweden "Farlig Resa" (eng: "Dangerous Journey") Sveriges Television & National Geographic Channel
 Denmark "Fra Paradis til Helvede" (eng: "From Paradise to Hell")
"Fanget i Udlandet" ("eng":"Banged Up Abroad")
National Geographic Channel
 Finland "Vankilassa ulkomailla" (eng: "In Jail Overseas") Fox (Finland) & National Geographic Channel
 Czech Republic "Vězněm v cizině" (eng: "Prisoner Abroad") Česká televize & TV Fanda & National Geographic Channel
United States "Locked up Abroad" National Geographic Channel
 India "Banged up Abroad" National Geographic Channel It is aired as "Jailed Abroad" on National Geographic Adventure.
 New Zealand "Banged up Abroad" TV1
 Ireland "Banged up Abroad" TV3 & National Geographic Channel
 Australia "Banged up Abroad", "Trouble In Paradise" (7mate) National Geographic Channel & 7mate
 Colombia "Banged up Abroad", "Preso en el Extranjero" National Geographic Channel
 Canada "Banged up Abroad", "Locked up Abroad" and "Voyage d'enfer eng:Voyage of Hell" (French version) National Geographic Channel (English) and Canal D (French) Aired originally as "Banged up Abroad" and as "Locked up Abroad" starting Dec 2011
 Poland "Podróż do piekła" (eng: "Journey to hell")
"Koszmarna wyprawa" (eng: "Nightmarish Travel")
Discovery Channel
National Geographic Channel
 Netherlands "Gevangen in het Buitenland" and "Locked up Abroad" SBS6 and National Geographic Channel
 Italy "Prigionieri di viaggio" and "Prigionieri di viaggio: ostaggi" National Geographic Channel
 Belgium "Locked up Abroad" and "Banged up Abroad" National Geographic Channel Aired as "Locked up Abroad" until 2009 and as Banged up Abroad in 2010
 Romania "Pierdut printre străini" (eng: "Lost among foreigners") National Geographic Channel
 Estonia "Vangistatud Välismaal" (eng: "Imprisoned Abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Singapore "Locked up Abroad" and "Banged up Abroad" National Geographic Channel & National Geographic Adventure & Mediacorp Okto It is aired as "Locked up Abroad" on National Geographic Channel and "Banged up Abroad" on National Geographic Adventure and Mediacorp Okto.
 Spain "Encarcelados en el extranjero" (Eng.: "Imprisoned abroad") National Geographic Channel
 South Africa "Banged up Abroad" National Geographic Channel
 Panama "Preso en el Extranjero" (Eng.: "Jailed abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Mexico "Preso en el Extranjero" (Eng.: "Jailed abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Venezuela "Preso en el Extranjero" (Eng.: "Jailed abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Argentina "Preso en el extranjero" (Eng.: "Jailed abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Dominican Republic "Preso en el extranjero" (Eng.: "Jailed abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Thailand "Locked up Abroad" National Geographic Channel (TrueVisions 49)
 Germany "Horror Trips – Wenn Reisen zum Albtraum werden" (eng: "Horror Trips – when traveling becomes a nightmare") National Geographic Channel
 Brazil "Férias na Prisão (Vacation in Prison)" National Geographic Channel
 Hungary "Bekasztlizva Külföldön" (Eng.: "Locked up abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Philippines "Locked Up Abroad" National Geographic Channel
 Malaysia "Locked Up Abroad" National Geographic Channel
 Indonesia "Locked Up Abroad" National Geographic Channel
 Israel "כלואים בארץ זרה" (Eng.: "Locked up in a foreign land") National Geographic Channel It is aired as "Banged up abroad" on National Geographic Channel
 Bulgaria "Арестувани зад граница" (Eng.: "Arrested beyond border") National Geographic Channel
 Taiwan "異鄉歷劫" (Eng.: "Foreign land saga") National Geographic Channel
 Turkey "Kabusa Dönen Yolculuklar" (Eng.: "Travels turned to nightmare") National Geographic Adventure
 Serbia "Ćorkirani u Inostranstvu" (Eng.: "Banged Up Abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Portugal "Presos no Estrangeiro" (Eng.: "Arrested Abroad") National Geographic Channel
 United Arab Emirates "مسجون في الغربة" (Eng.: "Imprisoned Abroad") National Geographic Abu Dhabi
 Greece "Εφιάλτης πέρα από τα σύνορα" (Eng.: "Nightmare beyond borders"), "Φυλακισμένοι στο Εξωτερικό" (Eng.: "Imprisoned Abroad") Skai TV,
National Geographic Channel,
Discovery Channel
 Russia "Злоключения за границей" (Eng.: "Locked Up Abroad") National Geographic Channel
 Vietnam "Bị Quản Thúc Ở Nước Ngoài" (Eng.: "Locked Up Abroad") National Geographic Channel

External links[edit]