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Globe Trekker (Pilot Guides)
Format Travel/adventure
Starring Ian Wright
Justine Shapiro
Megan McCormick
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 130+
Running time 60 minutes
Original channel Channel 4
OLN Canada
Travel Channel
Travel Channel UK
Discovery Travel & Living (Aus)
Israel Broadcasting Authority
Original run 1994 – Present

Globe Trekker (sometimes called Pilot Guides in Australia, Thailand, and Canada, and originally broadcast as Lonely Planet) is an adventure tourism television series produced by Pilot Productions. The British-based series was inspired by the Lonely Planet travelbooks and began airing in 1994. Globe Trekker is broadcast in over 40 countries across 6 continents.

Each episode features a host, called a traveller, who travels with a camera crew to a country—often, a relatively exotic locale—and experiences the sights, sounds, and culture that the location has to offer. Special episodes feature in-depth city, beach, dive, shopping, history, festival, and food guides.

The show often goes far beyond popular tourist destinations in order to give viewers a more authentic look at local culture. Presenters usually participate in different aspects of regional life, such as attending a traditional wedding or visiting a mining community. They address the viewer directly, acting as tourists-turned-tour guides, but are also filmed interacting with locals and discovering interesting locations in (mostly) unrehearsed sequences. Globe Trekker also sometimes includes brief interviews with backpackers who share tips on independent travel in that particular country.

Production details

It usually takes 12 to 15 weeks to complete an episode of the show from start to finish, including at least 4 weeks of research, 3 weeks of planning and preparation (speaking to tourist boards, making travel arrangements), 2 to 3 weeks of actual filming, and 3 weeks of editing and post-production.

The presenter is often accompanied by 5–6 members of camera and production crew, who almost never appear on camera. Specifically, the crew consists of a camera operator and a sound technician, plus a producer and a director, who scout locations 2 weeks before filming. A driver, pilot, or other type of facilitator is often hired locally. A presenter and crew almost never spend more than three nights in one particular area.

The series is known for its distinctive theme and background music, which consists largely of instrumental, downtempo, electronic dance compositions containing global folk music elements. Most of the music is written for the show by Ian Ritchie, Michael Conn, Colin Winston-Fletcher, Mako Sakamoto, Jesper Mattsson, Stephen Luscombe and Pandit Dinesh.


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