The final episode of BBC One’s Celebrity Race Across the World culminated in a thrilling victory for broadcaster Alex Beresford and his father, Noel. They were the first to reach the ultimate checkpoint and claim the title of the winning team.
Despite stiff competition from the other two pairs, Alex and Noel reached Tromsø’s Fjellheisen cable car Observation Deck ahead of everyone. McFly’s Harry Judd and his mother Emma followed closely, arriving just four minutes behind and securing second place. All Saints star Melanie Blatt and her mother Helene came in third.
Upon discovering their first-place position in Norway’s guest book, the competitive father-son duo couldn’t contain their elation. Jumping and cheering, Alex exclaimed, “Yes dad! We did it!” before sharing an emotional embrace with Noel.
Reflecting on their triumph, which encompassed a journey across 24 countries spanning over 10,000km from their starting point in Marrakesh, Alex remarked, “It feels fantastic. We feel like we’re on top of the world right now.”
While Noel said: “It was something else. Alex kept saying to me, ‘come on dad, come on dad’ and I said ‘I’m right behind you!’ He just kept pulling me along and it’s all worth it now!”
Alex added: “This is the toughest experience I have ever had. But we got to travel together, as men, and that isn’t something that every father and son get to do, and for me, that’s why this has been unforgettable and something that I will cherish for the rest of our lives.”
Following their arrival at the Observation Deck, Harry and Emma congratulated Alex and Noel on their win. Harry said: “I can’t believe it – very fine margins! Well done!”
He added: “We were so close, but we gave it our all. We left it all out there… It doesn’t matter about position. I’m so proud of mum, what she did was incredible.”
Emma said: “I said to Harry at the beginning of this race, ‘I’m not going to let you down son’ and hopefully I didn’t!”
After arriving in third place, Mel and Helene said: “We finished, and that’s the most important thing. No regrets!” before celebrating with their fellow competitors.
During the nail-biting final episode, Alex and Noel began the final leg in the lead, despite having never previously reached a checkpoint in pole position. Beginning at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate with more than 2,000km to the finish line in Tromsø, the father and son pairing decided to travel via Sweden where they stopped off in Stockholm to replenish their dwindling budget by working to shovel snow at one of Sweden’s lakeside saunas.
During their final work shift, Alex reflected on his experience during the race, saying: “We’ve been fully consumed by the race, and anything that has been happening in the outside world has been so far away, and that’s probably a good thing. You can’t dwell on things, you have to move on mentally so that you can move on physically, so I feel great about that. I feel like I’ve readjusted. I’ve never taken this amount of time off of work before, the race has challenged my routine and I definitely think I have become more open minded, it’s been nice to let my hair down, so to speak.”
After travelling from Sweden to Finland in order for Alex to fulfil a childhood dream of visiting Lapland, the duo headed on to Norway, where they found themselves travelling on the same bus from Narvik to Tromsø as Harry and Emma.
After joining their competitors on the bus, Alex said: “Wow, I thought we were in the clear. They’ve obviously had a good leg, because they caught up on any time we had on them. We’re going to wipe the floor with them!”
Meanwhile, Mel and Helene travelled on a fast highway towards the Norwegian boarder, unaware their fellow teams had ended up neck and neck.
After a 233km journey of winding roads, Harry and Emma and Alex and Noel departed the bus and began the final race on foot to the finish line. The teams’ GPS trackers first directed them to The Arctic Cathedral.
In a last-ditch attempt to secure the win, Harry and Emma jumped on a bus to the Cathedral, meanwhile Alex and Noel secured a lift from a passing car and late arrivals Mel and Helene spent their last €20 on a taxi.
Once they reached the Cathedral, the teams were then instructed to take the Fjellheisen cable car to the Observation Deck where they would be greeted by the finish line.
The journey of a lifetime has seen the pairs race through every landscape and culture that this part of the world has to offer: from the great North African city of Marrakech, through the seaside ports and beaches of the Mediterranean, to unrivalled historic and cosmopolitan cities, the mighty Alps, unexplored Central Europe, the fairy-tale Baltic States, and snowy Scandinavia.
They have successfully reached the finish line without the use of air travel or any trappings of modern-day life. Stripped of all mod-cons and all luxuries they have had to rely on their skills, cunning, ingenuity, and hard work in order to succeed. Without the use of credit cards, smartphones and with just the cash equivalent of completing the route to their final destination by air, extra money had to be earned along the way as well as calling upon the kindness of strangers to help them progress.