TV

Celebrity Race Across the World: Finally, a Must-See Celebrity TV Show


Treat yourself to a celebrity TV show with something real to offer.

Celebrity Race Across the World cast 2023
Photo: Pete Dadds/ Studio Lambert Ltd / BBC

Countdown number-wrangler Carol Vorderman will tell you that she appeared on the very first celebrity version of a British TV show in December 1998, but Carol Vorderman has been getting high on her own supply. 18 months before she gave her Cher in a 1998 episode of Celebrity Stars in Their Eyes, Wendy Richard and Todd Carty from EastEnders graced episode one of Celebrity Ready Steady Cook, and they’d appreciate Vorders giving it a bit less of all that, thank you.

The point being: celebrity versions of TV shows are mostly dross. Not being able to choose from the top drawer of fame (you’ll never see Dwayne The Rock Johnson filleting a seabass on Celebrity MasterChef, or the Pope dancing on ice), they generally feature the packing peanuts of the TV world. These shows use what might be described as a homeopathic definition of ‘celebrity’, in that this glass of water has a better chance of remembering who any of the cast are than I do. 

The cast of Celebrity Race Across the World is different. Not because of their calibre – there’s a racing driver, a weatherman, a former All Saint, and the drummer from McFly – but because they’ve each brought along their mums. Or to specify, McFly and All Saint have brought along their mums, the racing driver’s brought his sister, and the weatherman’s brought his dad. 

Half of each team being a regular person and not a venerable luminary dilutes the celebrity quotient to the extent that the show actually becomes good, just like the normal version (even if it does invalidate the title, which should have been changed to Celebrity and Non-Celebrity Family Member of their Choice Race Across the World.)

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