Meet Race Across The World contestants Stephen and Viv

Stephen and Viv
Stephen and Viv. Credit: BBC/Studio Lambert Ltd

Stephen (61, Retired) and Viv (65, Retired) from Rutland are a retired couple on a quest to prove that wisdom, perspective and maturity is the winning formula. With a newfound zest for life, and in pursuit of a thrilling adventure, they are grabbing hold of life with both hands.


Why did you want to take part in the series?

Stephen: Just the sense of adventure and the fun, just the opportunity. We’d watched the series on TV, and we just thought we wanted to have a go.

Have you got a strategy going into the race?

Viv: No, we’ve talked about it, but I don’t think we have. I think we’ll just do our best.

Stephen: Yes, I think we’ve just got to do what we can, as fast as we can, as cheap as we can We’ve talked about it and we can’t make any plans till we know how we’re going to get going or anything else. I think there are strengths that we bring and there are weaknesses that we have so add that all together and it becomes a strategy I suppose.

Viv: One strategy we could do is that whoever of the other couples look like they know where they’re going or what they’re doing, we’ll run after them!

What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Viv: It’s easier to list weaknesses.

Stephen: Obviously our age, but in a lot of ways we think that might be a strength as well, we’re sort of perhaps less imposing then some of the youngsters, less threatening than perhaps some of the youngsters might be by approaching strangers, we’re not a threat to anybody. But, certainly, it’s literally the same thing as a weakness, we’re not going to beat anyone in a footrace that’s for sure. But we’re hoping perhaps our experience, life experience, our maturity might give us a perspective that perhaps other people don’t see. It’s guess work because until you’re there you just don’t know what cards you’re going to be dealt, it’s just no idea.


Viv: I think we’re quite impulsive, I don’t know whether that’s going to be a strength or a weakness, I think it could be a bit of both.

Have you picked up any tips from previous series?

Viv: We’ve watched the series three or four times over and yes, I think there’s lots of tips you can say. I think you both have to trust each other, you both have to listen. Different opinions will happen, I think you’ve got to give a reason behind your opinion and I think we just have to listen to each other and go along with what the consensus of opinion is.

Stephen: I think talking to other people is going to be, or always seems to be a strength in the other series, certainly. So, people can listen to strangers, listen to friends and that gives them ideas that perhaps we wouldn’t have thought of ourselves, that’s all.

What made you travel with the person that you’re travelling with?

Viv: I’ve always said from the off that I would not dream of doing this with anyone else. Stephen on the other hand says-

Stephen: Well, I’d do it with anybody. I’d do a lot of things with anybody. My first choice of person would be to do it with Viv, I think on this occasion we were watching the series on TV and the advert came up and says do you want to join in? And we literally just looked at each other and went “go on, shall we.” It was a mutual instant, “ah we could do that” so there wasn’t a debate about who to have with us.

Viv: I think at the time of our lives as well, it would be difficult for one of the children for example to give up 8 weeks of their job. For us, we’re kind of footloose and fancy free so we thought it would be a huge adventure and at a good time in our lives to do it. If we didn’t do it now, I don’t think we ever would

How competitive are you both? Are you in it to win it?

Viv: We are competitive. We are.


Stephen: We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t want to win it. But it doesn’t matter either, we’ve seen the show, the success the failures and the taking part. We want to finish, to finish is important to us, we’d just be embarrassed to go home early, the kids would never live it down, it would just be awful, they’d just mock us mercilessly. Yes, of course we want to win, who wouldn’t. We’ll just do everything we can, within the rules, to make that happen.

Race Across The World airs Wednesday nights on BBC One and iPlayer.