Sir Alan Sugar’s Apprentice assistant Nick Hewer talks about his trip of a lifetime for Children in Need on Around the World in 80 Days, screening on BBC1 on Tuesday, October 20.
Was there ever any chance you and Sir Alan were going to do the trip?
“No! I asked Sir Alan if he wanted to come but he said, ‘Not for me, mate’ and he was absolutely right – he would’ve had a heart attack!”
So how was it with ex-Apprentice contestant Saira Khan?
“I was a little worried about travelling with Saira. I thought it was going to be shouty shouty all the time, but she is adorable. We are firm friends now, we had such a great time.”
Were there any hairy moments?
“Our first difficulty was not being allowed into Iran, which meant there was no point travelling across Iraq only to get to the Iranian border and be stuck. It would have been terrifying, but very exciting too. So we reverted to plan B and travelled across Georgia.”
Was that fun?
“Yes! I got very drunk at a dinner with some locals and had to be carried home! I had to match the hosts’ toasts and – well, I can’t even remember what happened in the end, Saira was in the kitchen dancing with some bloke, it was hilarious! Georgia is a very lush and attractive country, we went right up to the border where the Russians invaded last year. We stopped for lunch and on the other side of the road there were dozens of soldiers firing machine guns at targets, so clearly everyone is still a bit trigger-happy. But I don’t get frightened easily and we had an ex-SAS bloke with us, so if there was any trouble, I would have just thrown him at the problem.”
Where did you go next?
“From Georgia we hitchhiked to Baku in Azerbaijan, where we got stuck for three days waiting to cross the Caspian Sea. It’s one of the most expensive cities in the world – Saira tried to buy some flip-flops and they wanted to charge her £40!”
Did you buy anything?
“I bought an Afghan hat. I always try and buy a hat wherever I go. We have them on a beam at home and if we have a dinner party and everyone gets merry we all put on different hats.”
What are your best and worst memories?
“The best part of the trip was a beautiful sunrise in Turkey and how well we all got on. There was such camaraderie amongst the team. The worst part of the trip was being offered a sheep’s head for dinner. We were in real danger of insulting our hosts, but we still couldn’t eat it!’