The Handmaid’s Tale and Shakespeare in Love star is teaming with the explorer, who is his cousin, in Fiennes: Return to the Nile. The pair will journey down the river in Egypt to re-visit the locations that Ranulph explored on his first expedition 50 years ago.
Ranulph was the first to journey down the Nile in 1969 as part of the White Nile Hovercraft Expedition, which saw him travel from Alexandria on the Mediterranean to the Nile’s source at Lake Victoria. He used a Hoverhawk to ascend the longest river in the world at 4,000 miles.
The doc series will find out whether Joseph Fiennes can cut it in Sir Ranulph’s world and ask whether he has what it takes to be an explorer. The pair will crawl through the claustrophobic confines of a newly discovered ancient Egyptian tomb in Minya, get to grips with Tachtib – a traditional fighting technique using four foot sticks and come face-to-face with dangerous snakes and spiders.
The series is being produced by Woodcut Media, the British indie producer run by Kate Beal, in association with The Development Partnership, the development and production arm of talent agency The Artists Partnership. It is Woodcut’s most high-profile commission to date, having previously produced series including Football: A Brief History By Alfie Allen for A+E Networks’ History and a raft of crime programming such as World’s Most Evil Killers and How I Caught The Killer.
Fiennes: Return to the Nile will air on Nat Geo in the U.S. in 2019 as well as in 172 countries around the world.
Joseph Fiennes, who also serves as a producer on the series, said, “I am delighted to be embarking on this adventure with National Geographic and my cousin, Ran. It is every boy’s dream to go on an expedition with the world’s great living explorer. I am delighted to be going on this journey.”
Sir Ranulph Fiennes said, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to re-trace the steps of my original expedition in 1969, and this time with my cousin Joe and National Geographic. I know first-hand how fascinating and exhilarating Egypt is for an explorer and I can’t wait to show Joe the ropes and to see how much Egypt has changed in the last 50 years”.
Jules Oldroyd, SVP, International Programming for National Geographic, said, “Authentic, visceral and highly entertaining, Fiennes: Return to the Nile embodies National Geographic’s mission to inspire and ignite the explorer in all of us. We are thrilled to be working with legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and critically acclaimed actor Joseph Fiennes on this exhilarating and thrilling expedition.”
Derren Lawford, Creative Director and Executive Producer, Woodcut Media, added: “This series marks Woodcut’s first commission with National Geographic and we are delighted to be co-producing this with The Development Partnership for such an iconic channel. We know that Fiennes: Return to the Nile will take viewers on an incredibly breath-taking and unforgettable journey that will entrance audiences in the U.S. and the world over.”