Channel 5 to follow Carol Vorderman as she attempts solo flight around the world

Carol Vorderman - Channel 5

Channel 5 is to follow former Loose Woman and Countdown personality Carol Vorderman around the globe as she attempts Carol’s Incredible Solo Flight Around The World.

“My life’s dream has been to be a pilot. I fought to get to Cambridge University as a comprehensive-kid on free school meals in the 70s. I was the first child from my town to get there. My drive was always because I wanted to be a pilot BUT the RAF wouldn’t train women as pilots back then and we were a poor family so flying lessons were out of the question and my dream was put on hold. Only when I got into my 50s have I had the proper opportunity as a single parent to put everything else on the back burner.” – Carol Vorderman

The series will see Carol Vorderman attempt to become only the 9th woman in history to complete a solo flight around the world as she follows in the footsteps of pioneering female aviators, Carol will be landing in many of the same locations as she travels through Europe, across Asia, north to the Eastern most point of Russia, across the Pacific Ocean, the United States and finally through the frozen North back to the UK. In the aircraft she will only be able to fly at a maximum height of 18,000ft.

Carol will be forced to fly through inevitable bad weather; she will also need to recognise the risks of oxygen deprivation (hypoxia) on her body, potential ditching in a dangerous sea or shark infested waters in the Bay of Bengal. But it’s not just the elements that pose a threat to Carol, as she flies near politically unstable areas in the Middle East.  We’ll capture the highs and lows, the adventure and the humour, the tears and the pain – all against spectacular backdrops ranging from the dramatic Aleutian Islands to the magnificent Pyramids of Giza, and the Niagara Falls.

“I’ve given up a lot of TV, spent the last few years training and passing difficult flying exams and committing to this passion which builds inside me with every flight. It has been, and will be, a journey with tears and doubts and I still have huge areas of self-doubt and massive inexperience but I am going to push through it step by step. I WILL DO IT.” – Carol Vorderman

Channel 5 aka five

Produced by Arrow Media, this epic voyage is full of risks and thrilling challenges, but Carol is determined to achieve this feat and Channel 5 viewers will follow the whole adventure. Carol only gained her pilot’s licence two years ago and will be flying her own plane, a Diamond DA42 twin-engine propeller plane affectionately called ‘Mildred’, after the female British aviator Mildred Bruce from the 1930s.

Carol will undertake a rigorous studying and flight-training regime ahead of her intrepid endeavour and is preparing for any eventuality, ranging from an engine fire (which as a student pilot forced her to make an emergency landing) to rapidly deteriorating weather. With a full mini camera and audio rig on board her plane, the series will capture every gripping moment, providing an insight into the isolation and scale of this solo mission.

“This series demonstrates a previously unseen side to Carol as she embarks on this incredible and inspiring adventure where she’ll be tested to her absolute limits. It promises to be an exhilarating hybrid of personal journey, extreme challenge and some incredible travel and it shows us that it’s never too late to fulfil your dreams.” – Lucy Willis, Commissioning Editor Channel 5

Also commissioned are three shorts exclusive for My5. These themed companion pieces will follow different aspects of Carol’s journey and be available at the same time as the main episodes on My5. Carol is now honorary RAF Group Captain as Ambassador for the RAF Air Cadets. Alongside this role and her position as Director for the NASA Challenger Centers around the world, the series will continue to inspire young people, especially young women, in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM). Carol is best known for her long running role as the ‘words and numbers’ expert on Channel 4’s Countdown series, which launched in 1982.

The first female television presenter to learn to fly for a TV series was Noele Gordon, who in 1958 hosted Noele Gordon Takes The Air for ITV. Produced by ATV Midlands the series followed Noele from plane novice through to gaining her pilots licence.

Noele Gordon Takes the Air - ATV 1958


Pictured Top: Carol Vorderman  flying her own plane, affectionately called ‘Mildred’. Pictured Bottom: Noele Gordon is the first woman to gain her pilots licence for television in 1958.