Looking a far cry from his shaggy-bearded, jungle-explorer persona, a more cultured, smart Levison Wood opened his tour at this year’s city of culture, Hull.
The TV adventurer and author gave the Hull City Hall audience on Monday night an insight into his travels to some of the most hostile but at the same time most beautiful places on Earth, which have been documented in three series on Channel 4.
It was a rather shaky start; the sound wasn’t right at first and the opening minutes felt like a geology lesson as Lev spoke of the Ice Age, early humans and the dawn of exploration.
But the evening was enlivened as he spoke of his walking adventures along the Nile, the Himalayas and Central America, with several clips from his TV series.
It was a fascinating autobiographical portrayal of a man who had hitchhiked around India, toured the world with the Army and, by his own admission, must have a DNA gene that finds travel – the more unusual the place the better – insatiable.
Overridingly it’s the people he meets that sends him back out for more – from his companions such as Boston and Alberto, to Sudanese tribespeople, and a winsome little girl in a Costa Rican refugee camp. Throw in George Clooney and the Dalai Lama for good measure!
Equally as interesting as the main talk were the audience questions at the end, in which we discovered that his biggest fear was sharks, his one essential item on his ventures is a white linen shirt, and he would definitely lose a wrestling match with Bear Grylls.
But he kept tight-lipped about what most of the audience wanted to know – where his next voyage will be. In fact, he said, he has two in the pipeline ...