Tom Rosenthal and Eshaan Akbar to take part in BBC's Pilgrimage | Following a 220km route of saints in North Wales © BBC

Tom Rosenthal and Eshaan Akbar to take part in BBC's Pilgrimage

Following a 220km route of saints in North Wales

Tom Rosenthal and Eshaan Akbar are taking part in the next series of BBC Two’s Pilgrimage series, taking a religious walk in North Wales.

The comedians will follow a route that celebrates early Christian Celtic saints, ending at Bardsey Island the fabled ‘Island of 20,000 saints’, just off the western tip of the Llyn Peninsula.

Stand-up Akbar, 39 and a lapsed Muslim, said: ‘Why am I doing this pilgrimage? I’ll be honest, I think it’ll be fun, believe it or not. 

‘I’m not a great fan of walking without a purpose, I don’t like hikes, I don’t like going up and down different types of terrain, I don’t like sleeping in uncomfortable situations. 

‘My immigrant parents worked way too hard for me to start fetishising poverty by choosing to make my life too difficult. I’m really looking forward to the experience but I can’t promise that I won’t moan for most of it.’

Friday Night Dinner star Rosenthal, 36 and ‘areligious’, added: ‘I’ve always been interested by anybody with any thoughts as to what it is we are all doing here. It’s fairly confusing and if I spend all my time watching Arsenal and the The Traitors I’m never going to find out. 

‘Dedicating myself to a pilgrimage for two weeks is a wonderful opportunity to reflect upon my spirituality and to make a TV show my grandmother will actually enjoy watching.’

Also taking part in the walk, which will be screened in three hour-long episodes, are  presenter Michaela Strachan, former reality star  Spencer Matthews, journalist Sonali Shah, The Traitors sar Amanda Lovett, and former model, Christine McGuinness. 

Created in 2011, the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way is linked by ancient churches dedicated to sixth and seventh century saints, but also takes pilgrims through the mountain ranges of Snowdonia (also known as Eryri), and the North Wales coast path.

Travelling for two weeks on foot and by bus, the seven celebrity pilgrims start their 220km adventure at Flint Castle on the bank of the Dee Estuary and will take on Mount Snowdon (Yr Wydffa).

Carrying their own backpacks, they’ll sleep in basic accommodation from a caravan to a climbers’ hut, as well as experiencing an eco-retreat in an ancient oak forest and a Buddhist meditation centre.

Daisy Scalchi, BBC TV's head of religion and ethics, says: ‘Pilgrimage is a series like no other; getting into the heart and soul of who we are and what makes life meaningful. 

‘All seven pilgrims embraced the journey wholeheartedly, with extraordinary honesty and generosity towards one another. It’s inspiring, and thought-provoking, to watch.'

Caroline Matthews, executive producer with CTVC says: ‘This is one of the strongest series we’ve ever made – the pilgrims immersed themselves fully in the experience with extraordinary results.’

The broadcast date has not yet been confirmed.

Thanks for reading. If you find Chortle’s coverage of the comedy scene useful or interesting, please consider supporting us with a monthly or one-off ko-fi donation.
Any money you contribute will directly fund more reviews, interviews and features – the sort of in-depth coverage that is increasingly difficult to fund from ever-squeezed advertising income, but which we think the UK’s vibrant comedy scene deserves.

Published: 15 Feb 2024

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.