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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Lonely Planet: Year of Adventures (2011)

Lonely Planet: Year of Adventures (2011)

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Released 7-Nov-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Travel None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 245:54 (Case: 265)
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Multi Disc Set (4)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Various
Beach House Pictures
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ben Fogle
Case ?
RPI $29.95 Music Paul Pritchard
Josh Philips

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     Ben Fogle is an adventure junky, having raced across the Sahara, rowed the Atlantic and trekked to the South Pole. Lonely Planet Year of Adventures is a five part series, where Fogle experiences challenges in Europe, the US and Australia that “anyone” can do; which really means, I guess, that they are accessible to anyone, not that anyone could actually do them! Each episode runs approximately 49 minutes; episodes 1-3 are on disc 1, the others on disc 2. The episodes are:

All Terrain (49:12)

     Ben competes in the Augusta Anaconda Adventure Race in Western Australia, a 60 km race involving running, swimming, ocean kayaking and mountain bike riding that attracts up to 1,800 starters. To prepare for the race he swims the 2.5 km from Alcatraz to San Francisco, competes in the London “Rat Race”, a 70 km course through the heart of London involving orienteering, running, biking, kayaking and answering mystery questions, and goes white water kayaking in “The B****es” off St Davids, Pembrokeshire, Wales. Then of course there is the Anaconda to complete!

Pushing Limits (48:09)

     Ben admits that his biggest weakness is climbing as he suffers from vertigo. He sets out to conquer his fears, first roping up to climb a giant Sequoia tree in the Calaveras Big Trees State Park in California. Then in Iceland he descends into an ice chasm in a glacier, builds a snow hole for an overnight stay and dives into the clear waters in the Silfra Rift. Finally, he rock climbs in the Dolomite Mountains of northern Italy at Via Ferrata facing his fears and almost enjoying the view.

Endurance (50:16)

     Ben tests his body in the South Tyrol Three Peaks Challenge, a race in the Dolomite Mountains of Italy that climbs 1,200 m in a course of almost 18 km. He then goes “coasteering” in Pembrokeshire, Wales, and teams up with a friend for the gruelling 24 hour mountain bike endurance race in the Moab Desert of Utah.

Speed (49:26)

     Most of Ben’s adventures have centred upon his own body’s endurance – running, cycling, swimming, kayaking. This time, it is about machines, and speed! Ben’s aim is to compete in the Gascoyne Dash, a two day rally in the Western Australian outback. To prepare, he becomes a passenger in an L-39 Albatros, a jet used to train military pilots in the Czech Republic, obtains his International Rally Licence at Silverstone, UK and does a spot of hovercraft racing in Leicester, UK. Then he is off, 200 km east of Carnarvon, W.A. for two days of heat, dust and rallying in the outback.

Ultimate Heights (48:51)

     Ben returns to again challenge his fear of heights. After one day’s training he does a solo skydive at Busselton, W.A., then indulges in a spot of tandem paragliding at Val Di Tassa, in the Italian Dolomite Mountains. Then he heads to Castle Valley, Utah to climb the magnificent vertical walls of Castleton Tower, after a bit of canyoneering as a warm up.

     Many adventure junkies are egotistical about their achievements and can be limited communicators, but Ben Fogle is not one of them. Fogle is articulate, charismatic, humorous, athletic of course, and prepared to try almost anything in the interests of adventure. But he is also not afraid to make a fool of himself and show his failures; his attempts to master an unstable, sleek ocean racing kayak are very funny indeed while some of the rock climbing is genuine heart in mouth stuff. Lonely Planet Year of Adventures is great fun, entertaining and an adrenaline junkies’ delight.

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Transfer Quality


     Lonely Planet Year of Adventures is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 which I suspect is the original ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     A lot of the footage was shot on the go with handheld cameras and minicams in some extreme conditions, which means that the sharpness, colour, contrast and brightness over the episodes does vary. But on the whole, Lonely Planet Year of Adventures looks fabulous with some wonderful footage of mountains, deserts and waters in Europe, Australia, the USA and Iceland. Colours are natural, blacks good, skin tones accurate. Other than slight ghosting with motion against some backgrounds, I did not see any artefacts.

     Lip synchronisation is fine.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available in an easy to read white font that follows the narration almost word for word in the portion I sampled. When the narration is hard to hear, such as when engines are loud, subtitles appear.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Audio is English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 192 Kbps. It was perfectly adequate for this television series.

     The episodes are mostly voice over narration with a bit of extra dialogue. This narration was always clear and easy to understand. I noticed some music and effects in the rear speakers but no sub-woofer use. Not that the series needed it.

     Music was credited to Paul Pritchard and Josh Philips. It nicely complimented the visuals, especially during some of the climbs.

     The layer change on disc 1 at 36:01 in episode 2 resulted in a slight pause. I did not notice a layer change on disc 2.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     No extras.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     I cannot find a release of Lonely Planet Year of Adventures available in any other region.


     Lonely Planet Year of Adventures is good fun and an adrenaline junkies’ delight. In 5 episodes, Ben Fogle experiences various challenges “anyone” can do, including endurance runs, mountain biking, rallying and rock climbing. He is a good host and this series is well worth a watch.

     The video and audio are fine. There are no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Friday, November 16, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE