Charley Boorman travels light

To travel from Sydney to Tokyo by any means, host Charley Boorman needed a film crew of just three people.

There are a string of celebrities fronting TV travel shows these days -- Griff Rhys Jones, Michael Palin and Joanna Lumley, to name but a few.

Charley Boorman, who has fronted several docos on his motorcycle, is another. He started out very young in show business, when his film director father John Boorman cast him in a 1972 feature.

"I think I started acting roles when I was about three years old in Deliverance," he says. "So I've been in the entertainment industry since I was a baby. And my father is still prolific and we still do some bits and pieces together, so I've been around for a long time."

His first travel doco was Long Way Down when he and Ewan McGregor rode motorcycles from London to New York. The two had become friends after meeting on a film shoot.

Since then they have travelled from Scotland to South Africa in Long Way Down while Boorman has fronted his own adventures including the latest From Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means. The "any means" sees him include any form of transportation he can access, all the way to his destination.

For this series he travels through Australia, New Guinea, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Boorman says it helps to travel with a skeleton crew.

"There's only four of us who travel. There's a producer and two cameramen and myself so we can split the team up as well. I can go off with just the cameraman, the others can jump on a train or whatever and scoot ahead. So we're incredibly flexible and so we can jump in and jump on anything. It's a tiny little crew so it's very easy," he says.

"I've been to Australia many times but I've never really done the East Coast of Australia. I'd spent quite a lot of time when I was younger in Cairns but the whole thing together was brilliant fun."

The documentaries also entail considerable preparation, double checking that they have all the requirements necessary for filming. He says it is part planning and part winging it.

"When you're just going off travelling you can grab a visitor's visa pretty easily, but when you start filming you've got work permits, filming permits and all sorts of other stuff to clear before you turn up to these places.

"I remember it was pretty difficult to get into Iran, especially to get filming visas, but once you're there it was just fantastic and then you forget about the whole thing. You realise it's all the politicians who make everything really difficult."

From Sydney to Tokyo By Any Means airs 8:30pm Sundays on BBC Knowledge.

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