Our Guy heads to Colombia to explore its history of drugs and violence

Sunday: Our Guy in Colombia (Channel 4, 9pm)
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Grimsby-born Guy Martin has come a long way since he started out as a teenage apprentice lorry mechanic.

In 2003, he launched a motorbike road racing career, securing 17 podium finishes at TT events.

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In 2011, he shifted gears and made his first TV appearance with the series The Boat that Guy Built, and has fronted more than 20 documentaries, exploring motoring and other technology, as well as various periods in history.

Guy Martin explores ColombiaGuy Martin explores Colombia
Guy Martin explores Colombia

Cameras have also followed Guy as he set himself seemingly impossible tasks, such as rebuilding his transit van and trying to break the van lap record at Germany’s Nurburgring, or attempting to build the world’s fastest tractor and set a speed record of over 100 mph.

He has flown with the Red Devils, trained to be a Second World War fighter pilot and found out whether he had the right stuff to be a Lancaster Bomber crewman.

Aside from his twin, life-long love affairs with engineering and speed, Guy has also trotted the globe, taking a closer look at what makes China, Russia and Japan tick.

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A quote on his website reads: “I’m always looking for a new challenge but sometimes the challenges seem to find me.”

He definitely finds it with this eye-opening two-parter, in which he visits Colombia to explore whether one of the most beautiful and biodiverse countries in the world can finally escape its long history of drugs and violence.

In the opener, Guy soon discovers that risk is something the Colombian population has to live with every day as he undergoes the same brutal kidnap training that is given to politicians, including being gagged and bound and thrown into the back of a car. Viewers of a squeamish disposition should be warned the next part isn’t for the faint hearted, as the presenter is then tortured and water-boarded for real.

This understandably shocking experience is followed by a visit to a uniquely Colombian business: a factory that manufactures designer bullet-proof clothing. Of course, Guy tests to see if the products work in the only way possible: he puts on a bullet-proof hoodie and is shot at point-blank range by someone using live ammunition. It goes without saying: don’t try this at home.

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A root cause of Colombia’s issues is the cocaine trade, and in an effort to find out more, Guy loads a motorcycle into the back of a classic Douglas DC3 cargo plane before flying into the Colombian Amazon, where he lands at an airfield that was cut into the jungle by notorious drugs kingpin Pablo Escobar.

Guy rides the motorbike to a hidden drugs lab to find out how cocaine is made, then takes to the streets with a secret camera to see just how easy it is to buy a range of drugs in Medellin, once considered the most dangerous city in the world.

A meeting with the nephew of the aforementioned Escobar to watch some revealing home movies uncovers the inside story of the drug lord’s vast wealth, before a whirlwind first week of adventure concludes with Guy joining the elite jungle commandos on a drugs raid.