In ancient Rome, the annual wild and secret celebrations of Bacchanalia began on March 16. In homage to all things clandestine and all people born to be wild, Channel Hop will take you on adventures both freewheeling and frightening this week.
We start the Long Way Round (BBC Knowledge; Sundays at 8.30 pm), with actor chums Ewan McGregor (Trainspotting, A Life Less Ordinary, Star Wars, Moulin Rouge) and Charley Boorman (Deliverance, Excalibur, The Emerald Forest) on a three-month motorcycle journey from London to New York. The series documents their struggles to get the project off the ground - obtaining gear from bike companies, finding a reliable cameraman, applying for visas, brushing up on survival skills - and the unique encounters experienced by the two 21st-century easy riders as they travel through the vast plains of Europe, Mongolia, Siberia and North America. McGregor's earnest, boy-scout enthusiasm is offset brilliantly by Boorman's boorish moodiness. The two bring a whole new meaning to off-roading while their wives sit tight in London, telling amusing stories about their husbands. This journey also resulted in a book and a CD. Two copies of each - autographed by McGregor - are up for grabs by Post Magazine readers (see details, right).
Boyish mischief gives way to serious conflict in the third-season premiere of Ross Kemp on Gangs (BBC Knowledge; Wednesdays at 10.10pm). Kemp is an actor who won a British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for his work infiltrating the dens of some of the most feared outlaws in the world. The first episode takes us to sunny, touristy Kingston, Jamaica - also known as the murder capital of the world. What started in the 1970s as a struggle for political power between two parties has become a turf war between neighbourhoods. In a city that tallies at least one death of a law-enforcement agent every week, a seemingly fearless Kemp ventures out with some officers to try and make sense of the killings. He visits a confiscated-weapons warehouse, meets members of the NPN gang (right) and secures an audience with the don. As Kemp heads into an abandoned building for the appointment, one wonders if he'll come out in one piece.
To truly satisfy Bacchus, stay up After Hours With Daniel (AFC; Mondays at 10.30pm) and play voyeur to chef Daniel Boulud's 'semi-clandestine' gatherings at some of New York's top restaurants. French transplant Boulud owns the restaurant Daniel and created a US$59 hamburger made with foie gras and truffles.
This is your chance to be that fly on the wall after midnight, when the regular diners have gone and fine-dining's elite emerge to out-wine and out-dine each other. This is a table that any foodie would kill for a place at - not in the least because of the guest list: Anthony Bourdain (who needs no introduction), Scott Conant (award-winning chef-owner of L'Impero), Floyd Cardoz (chef of Tabla and Bread Bar) and food critic Ed Levine, who contributes to The New York Times and Gourmet magazine.
For the first meal, Boulud has chosen the Bromberg Brothers' Blue Ribbon Sushi in Brooklyn. Through the course of the meal, Boulud and his guests discuss everything from death-row meals to bad reviews. Of course, sake is flowing freely, so by 3am they are gushing like girls about each other's magnificence. In vino vanitas.
To win an autographed Long Way Round CD or book, tell us the make and model of the bike Ewan McGregor rode across the globe? Send your answer (including product preference) to firstname.lastname@example.org. The first people to submit the correct answer will get the goods. Good luck!