Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Travel TV Show Alert - World's Greatest Cities on ITV Tonight

Griff Rhys Jones gets under the skin of three of the greatest cities on earth for a new three part documentary series. Tonight showcases New York, New York. Catch the show at 9pm on ITV1

For Griff, New York, London and Paris are the cities closest to his heart...

“I love a lot of cities that are not included in this series, like Rome and Edinburgh, but I love the three we are covering most of all. New York for its style and warmth, Paris for its taste and chic, and London for its grubby soul.”

So what makes a city ‘great’?

“A great city is inexhaustible, it keeps throwing new sights, new people, new tastes and new sounds at you, but I’m drawn to places which have many, many layers of history. Anything which is huge scale and uniform tends to ultimately be dull. So London is a good example of a city which is made up of dozens of different parts and experiences as you walk through it. Ultimately it’s people and their pride in their environment that make a great city work. If there’s no place where people can express themselves, either by trimming the hedges or building extraordinary skyscrapers then the city has no soul.”

A few things took Griff by suprise.

“I was surprised at how quickly New York changes its character. People now live on Wall Street because so many banks left it after 9/11. The printing area is now a fashion area and the West Side is changing its spots daily. I was surprised by how funny and helpful the Parisians were once you stop being a tourist. We had the best laughs with French people and I wasn’t expecting that.

The one thing that made me laugh the most in Paris was when I drove a 2 CV around the Arc de Triomphe where all the rules of driving are temporarily abandoned!”

He had a few hairy moments as well. .

“When I was working as a window cleaner at a 30 storey building in New York, I did get moderately scared when the guy who was teaching me didn’t seem to know how the safety equipment worked!

However, the most terrifying thing I did was to take part in an inline skating event in Paris. They do it every Friday and the streets are closed to traffic to enable the people to skate around the central streets in safety. We did it on a Wednesday for some reason, into the rush hour traffic. I had never inline skated before and feared at every moment that my skates would clip one of the many drains and potholes and that I would fall under the wheels of a Parisian bus!”