Taking one car too far

Aug 26, 2012, 10:20 IST | Tunali Mukherjee

The unlikely duo of survival experts, Gary Humphrey and car fanatic Bill Wu battle it out through deep rainforests, volcanoes, glaciers and mountains in Discovery Channel's latest survival show, One Car too Far

The next time Gary Humphrey and Bill Wu invite you to join them on a seemingly innocent car ride, beware. You just might find yourself in a race for survival, braving ice-cold rivers and trekking across fiery hot deserts. If you’d rather follow the escapades of the duo as they make their way through unforgiving terrains from the comfort of your couch, tune into Discovery Channel’s ‘One Car too Far’, premiering on September 3.

“This is not just any another survival based show,” says Wu, over the phone from the US. “It’s got all the elements of a comedy — bush fixes, off-roading and a driving show mixed together.” The concept was developed after the programmers found themselves out in the open desert in a four-wheel drive. “It’s an amazing experience which evolved into a full-fledged show. We aim to figure out how to survive the outdoors with nothing but an everyday, ordinary car that most of us drive,” explains Humphrey.

That’s how Humphrey and Wu found themselves stuck in a Chilean rainforest. “The Chilean rainforest is one of the largest and the most diverse in the world,” says Humphrey, “So we didn’t know what to expect. It’s very cold, around 18 degrees Celcius, with glacial water streams from the mountains at around five to 10 degrees Celcius.

After three to four days in the open, I just couldn’t shiver anymore, which is a very bad sign. At times I didn’t think I could make it,” he says. The car, however, has more benefits than meets the eye. “A car is a self contained survival kit,” explains Wu. “You don’t really need to carry any equipment. You can cook on the heat, use the wires, the mirrors, water containers and the toolbox from the car.

Rip the seats, sacrifice the seat belts, sacrifice whatever is needed to survive,” he says. As two people who team up in the face of adversity, the chemistry between the duo is what essentially sets the series apart. Humphrey’s Royal Marines and UK Special Forces training, and Wu’s car nerdiness make things fun. “We’re complete opposites,” says Wu.

“We push each other’s buttons, and you see the relationship grow as the series progresses. Having your life in the hands of someone you don’t know could be disastrous,” he says, as Humphrey listens patiently. “How many relationships have been built under such pressure?” asks Humphrey. “We would be wet and hungry, and yet giggle like kids when down. That’s the bond we share,” he says.

Humphrey is also a veteran when it comes to Indian roads. Having travelled the country extensively as a T20 producer (he’s a huge Sachin Tendulkar fan) and later as a tourist, ask Humphrey what he thinks is the perfect vehicle for Indian roads and prompt comes the reply, “Tanks!” Humphrey is also eager to see Wu navigate Indian roads. “It’s chaos,” he says, a hint of excitement in his voice. “Elephants, buses, three-wheelers, and in some places the roads have been washed off, Bill. It’s amazing,” he gushes. Sounds like every day in India is One Car too Far.

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