Here’s an exclusive look at brand new E4 comedy drama Gap Year. Centred on British lads Dylan (Anders Hayward) and Sean (Ade Oyefeso), who are childhood friends that initially set out to backpack through China, but end up taking on the whole continent.
The drama takes in ancient rainforests, full-moon beach parties, futuristic Asian mega-cities and remote monasteries in the foothills of the Himalayas. In the first episode, Sean is horrified to discover that his best mate Dylan has a secret plan that threatens to derail their ‘lads holiday’ to China. Things start looking up when they meet two American girls, Ashley (Brittney Wilson) and May (Alice Lee), and middle-aged hanger-on Greg (Tim Key). But, when old tensions resurface and create carnage at a music festival on the Great Wall, Sean suddenly finds himself way out of his depth.
Having left New York less than 3 weeks after the bombs went off in Chelsea district I felt a little unnerved by what happened. I couldn’t quite work out why, until I remembered how secure I felt as I wandered around the hot and sweaty city – confident that I was more secure here than if I was to walk around a capital city of most European countries. As someone who works in London, and who still remember the events of 7 July 2005 vividly – as I marched through the streets of London, among the thousands of commuters, making my our way home on foot – or to the nearest available bus.
But of course, these days it is foolish to believe that you are 100% safe in any country. Those days, sadly, are a thing of the past and I as someone who even works out where the exits are in a cinemas…just in case….. (usually at the front and therefore difficult to get to) – I had assumed that being in America, far away from lines of desperate migrants trying to find safety in a European home – I’d be far away from the troubles – but I guess, the terrorists desire is that we are never far away.
Luckily the statistics around being caught up in a terrorist incident are quite good “Even if the current level of attacks continues for 80 years (which would be unprecedented), a child born today…would have only one percent of a one percent chance of being killed in one.”
Transport Secretary has announced proposed site for Operation Stack lorry area to be created near Stanford in Kent.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that a new lorry area will be created near Stanford in Kent, to ease issues caused by Operation Stack and provide a long term solution to problems on the M20 and surrounding roads.
The new lorry area will help keep the M20 moving during cross-channel services, avoiding the level of disruption that comes with Operation Stack, which has caused issues for companies and other drivers and residents.
Operation Stack was used on a record 32 days last year as the area was hit with unprecedented disruption in the summer, which was followed by the Autumn Statement, in which the government announced it would be providing up to £250M for a permanent lorry area.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “We are taking bold action to deal with the severe inconvenience suffered by people living and working in Kent when cross-channel services are affected.
“A long-term solution that will keep traffic moving has been talked about for decades, but now we are delivering it. I look forward to construction starting as soon as possible.
Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, said: “Operation Stack is only ever used as a last resort but we recognise the impact it has on roads in Kent, and are determined to deliver an alternative solution.
“The new lorry area by the M20 will deliver better journeys for drivers and will not only support the region’s economy but also businesses as far away as Scotland that rely on the M20 to access the Port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel.
“We have committed up to £250 million for the lorry area and we are now making it a reality.”
A total of 3,600 lorries will be able to park in the area, with the government looking at the idea of overnight parking to prevent drivers parking in unsuitable or illegal positions.
Balfour Beatty have been appointed as lead contractor for the project, which is west of the M20 junction 11 at Stanford West.
New entry and exit slip roads will be built on the eastbound carriageway, providing direct access to the lorry park.
Jim O’Sullivan, Highways England Chief Executive said: “The Secretary of State has asked us to progress a lorry area between Sellindge and Stanford. Direct access from the M20 means less lorries using local roads.
“We will work closely with residents and local stakeholders to ensure the design of the new lorry area minimises its social and environmental impact, while meeting the wider need to address this issue for Kent and the UK.”
Written responses were provided by 1,300 people, along with more than 1,000 drivers, residents and workers attending eight public events during the consultation on the lorry park.
The majority of people supported the idea, with less than a quarter thinking that Operation Stack should continue in its current form. The next step with be a consultation on the details and environmental impact the scheme will have.
With 31 million Brits set to drive their way into summer, psychologist Dr. David Holmes has developed a formula to identify the 25 Ultimate Summer Drives (USD) in Europe.
Dr. Holmes looked at elements of the driving experience that are important to the planning of a summer route, including the number of bends and hills, volume of traffic, type of scenery and even the weather; and combined these with the findings from TomTom’s study of 14,000 drivers from across Europe.
Taking insights from this study, and his expertise in human behaviour, Dr. Holmes developed the Ultimate Summer Drive (USD) formula to help drivers experience the best drive possible this summer.
The Ultimate Summer Drive (USD) =
((P+T) x (R+SC)) x100/21.3333
T = Type of Road
SS = Slope and Skew
AT = Amount of Traffic
P = Stopping Points
R = Remoteness of Road
SC = Surrounding Scenery
W = Weather
The USD formula outputs a ‘Perfect Drive’ percentage score that can be used to identify the best routes to drive on.
On cracking the code, Tom Brown, Vice-President, TomTom UK said: “There are so many incredible journeys with jaw-dropping views all over the world to explore, which a summer road trip can help you discover.
“TomTom’s Ultimate Summer Drive formula, and key features within our devices, including Lifetime Maps and up-to-the-minute accurate traffic information, make driving on Europe’s most incredible routes easier, and more enjoyable than ever. Summer driving should be relaxed and exciting – driving to be enjoyed and relished. We know that driving is a passion for many people in the UK – and we’re sure that the 25 best summer driving routes that we’ve identified will be debated by car enthusiasts across the country!”
Developed using variables identified in the research, the USD formula will make planning a summer road trip easier than ever:
· Incredible (Instagram ready) views: 70% of drivers identified great scenery as key to a holiday drive but this scenery has to be social media friendly with 15% of drivers admitting that photo ready views are a deciding factor in the success of a road trip.
· A great road: For one in four drivers, the road itself is key to a drive’s success with two-lane roads combined with gentle bends, positive camber change and good forward vision identified as the ultimate road combination.
· (Near) empty roads: One in five people cited a remote road that lets you veer slightly off the main path to discover somewhere new (yet with the occasional, reassuring passing car) as being what makes a drive epic, and key to the USD formula.
· Regular stop off points: Well-spaced, regular pull-off points every 30 miles or so with basic facilities and unexpected views helps drivers stay relaxed and energised.
· Great weather: Warmth and a light breeze provide the perfect summer driving conditions.
Unveiling the Ultimate Summer Drive
The Atlantic Ocean Road in Norway came out top across Europe when mapped against the formula, with its blend of spectacular views, quality roads and perfect light conditions throughout the summer making it the Ultimate Driving Experience in Europe.
The rest of the top five Ultimate Summer Drive roads in Europe is made up of:
2. Estoril Ocean Drive, Portugal
3. Lake Como, Italy
4. The Peloponnesus, Greece
5. The North Coast 500, Scottish Highlands
Commenting on the formula and the top five roads, Dr. Holmes said: “Holiday driving can combine the thrill of the new and novel with a sense of adventure, unlocking a sense of excitement and freedom. Planning a route using my formula before you embark on your summer adventure will help you make the most of your drive and enhance your overall holiday experience.”
The March 2016 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) has hit the newsstands with a FREE Costa Rica guide: featuring the top 10 quintessential experiences, as well as the checklist no visitor should miss.
Launched in December 2010, the magazine is one of 16 local-language editions published worldwide.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Cover Story: This month’s cover story, delves into cities that make a lasting impression. From the streets of Havana to the best restaurants in Beirut, their experts write a love letter to the places that have stolen their hearts.
Destinations: Hop on a bicycle for a two-wheel trip across the Croatian islands; walk in the footsteps of Dr Jane Goodall in search of chimpanzees in East Africa; meet the cowboys of France’s Camargue region; discover Iceland’s friendly fishing villages; and sample the Isle of Skye’s natural larder.
Cities: Their urban adventures take us to the ‘ruin bars’ of Budapest and the arty sights of Delhi. Also the magazine explores the leafy back alleys of Bangkok, check out Philadelphia’s best beds and look at Helsinki’s creative edge.
Smart Traveller: Discover Macau’s best food, hotels under £100 in Gdansk and the Azores. Plus, why you should go to Liguria, and handy columns and checklists.
Author Series: Alex Perry on Quirimbas, Mozambique. Travel Talk: Ask the experts about your travel dilemmas.