OLN's blog

After leaving London, Coltrane’s mission to uncover the real heart of Britain begins in High Wycombe where the town’s mayor is weighed on a large pair of scales in front of a braying crowd of locals.

This old tradition began as a way to find out if the Mayor had got fat off the locals’ taxes. Back on the road, Coltrane heads for Gloucestershire, home of the world’s only formation wing walking team.

He meets three brave girls who perform breathtaking stunts while strapped to the wings of bi-planes. Then, it’s off to the Cotswolds, an area renowned for the beauty of its limestone buildings.

Coltrane makes a detour to visit Woodchester Mansion, a gothic restoration project and returns to his art school roots by having a crack at some real stonemasonry.

On one of his last stops, Coltrane witnesses quite possibly one of the most terrifying sports in the country as two entire villages come together at a field to fight each other over a barrel of beer. It’s a no-holds-barred game of rugby with only one rule – there aren’t any.

Sun., June 15 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT on OLN

Put the top down and turn the radio up for the road trip of a lifetime as acclaimed British actor Robbie Coltrane (Rubeus Hagrid, Harry Potter) sets off on an epic quest to discover the true essence of Britain.

Premiering Sun., June 15 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT on OLN, Robbie Coltrane’s Incredible Britain is a charming three-part series that follows the actor as he travels the length of his homeland in a classic 1950’s convertible, shunning busy motorways in favour of winding B-roads.

Getting off the hard shoulder and disposing of the satellite navigation system, Coltrane aims to uncover the exotic natural features, unique characters and intriguing customs that make Britain what it is today.

With a nose for adventure and armed with his inimitable wit, join the actor on a meandering expedition that takes him from London to Glasgow.

Wilfully driving as far off the beaten track as possible, this series uncovers the places that define Britain and the people that make the nation so unique.

Next on their journey, Wilson and Lukach board a military plane from England and head to Ascension Island, a little explored location in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean. While there, the friends stay in a cottage atop the highest mountain. From hiking through the lush forests full of land crabs and trekking through rocky landscapes to snorkelling and fishing for tuna, witness their determination to experience all aspects of the island. But, despite the tranquil setting, the boys deal with problems of isolation as they have trouble communicating with the outside world, accessing money from banks at home and saving personal relationships.

Mon., April 14 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

In this episode, join Wilson and Lukach as they travel through the more untouched parts of India, a journey that challenges both friends to their utmost limits as they suffer from altitude sickness and food poisoning. From the majestic Himalayas to the tropical heat of Goa, their experiences prove to be more unexpected than they ever imagined. Watch as they are caught off guard by a monsoon and struggle to survive a record-breaking lightning storm while on the water.

Mon., April 7 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

After a long flight to India, Wilson and Lukach meet up with their friend Monica in New Delhi and take a gruelling train ride to the desert just outside of Jaiselmer. Following a camel excursion into the desert, they head off to Varanasi to witness the daily mayhem of a bustling Indian city. Wilson and Lukach develop a new appreciation for the depth of India’s different religions before flying to New Delhi for the annual festival of lights, Diwali.

Mon., March 31 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Wilson and Lukach head to Jordan to attend their friend Ibrahim’s wedding. After arriving in Amman, Ibrahim serves as their tour guide for the trip – in between wedding plans! Follow the group as they head out to the Wadi Mujib, a gorge that is one of the lowest nature reserves in the world. While there, watch as they trek through the region’s rugged terrain and water trails. Next, join the travellers as they visit the alleged tomb of Moses, spend a night in the desert with the Bedouins, hike through the ancient city of Petra, visit the Roman ruins in Jerash and enjoy some water sports on the Red
Sea… all just in time for a traditional Jordanian wedding.

Mon., March 24 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Before they can appreciate the countries they are about to visit, Wilson and Lukach set out to appreciate their own country first. They rent an RV in Halifax and hit the road with only 10 days to cross the country. After dipping their fingers in the Atlantic Ocean, watch as they explore Peggy’s Cove, visit friends in Ottawa, go fishing in Northern Ontario and hit the beach in Manitoba. Before ending their trip on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the friends go white water rafting and tour the Rocky Mountains by helicopter. Watch as camping across the country prompts Wilson and Lukach to reflect on what they are leaving behind and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime.

Mon., March 17 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Ever dreamt of white water rafting in New Zealand, tearing across Canada in only 10 days or stepping on sacred ground in India? Best friends – and Brantford, Ontario, natives – Scott Wilson and Justin Lukach do just that, and more in OLN’s new original Canadian production, Departures, premiering Mon., March 17 at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT. From epic landscapes and unforgettable cultures to the often trying times that come with international travel, watch as these two best friends defy the 9-to-5 and leave the familiar in search of adventures abroad in each episode of the 13-part series. Travelling to locations including Jordan, Ascension Island, India, Japan, Cambodia and New Zealand, their stories develop and evolve with the people they meet along the way. For Wilson and Lukach, it’s as much about the journey as it is about the destination. There are no prizes and no contests – just real adventures with no safety net.

Accompanied by their friend and cameraman, Andre Dupuis, Departures showcases the revelations of two travellers who strive to find themselves and new perspectives while trekking across the globe. Their experiences unfold before a moving camera and daily “diary cam” entries reveal their interpretations of the events, people and places they discover along the way. Set against a backdrop of stunning vistas and incredible landscapes, the series chronicles the unforgettable friendships, personal successes and sometimes crushing disappointments that befall them on their journey. Each episode illustrates Wilson and Lukach’s personal evolution as they are pushed to their utmost limits. From hiking through the ancient ruins of Petra in Jordan, to surviving a monsoon in the middle of the Indian Ocean, to facing off against a professional kick boxer in Thailand, to living off the land in Cambodia, join these best friends as they challenge themselves and their attachments to home on the trip of a lifetime.

Episode highlights from Departures include Canada, Jordan, India and Ascension Island.

Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT

Departures is produced by Echo Bay Media in association with OLN.

OLN is Canada’s destination for adventurous entertainment. Going beyond the comforts of home, OLN’s experience-based programming reveals the insatiable human drive for adventure. Riveting and rugged, OLN’s fearless line-up pushes the limits with series like Survivorman, Mantracker, Beyond Boundaries, The Amazing Race and Extreme Survival; and covering internationally-renowned events including the Tour De France, Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and Professional Bull Riding. Visit OLN on the web at www.tsn.ca/oln. CTV Inc. is the managing partner of OLN.

From akitas, beagles and chihuahuas to vizslas, weimaraners and yorkshire terriers, the 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is the destination for all dog-devotees.

The 132nd Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is America’s second-longest continuously-held sporting event, lagging only one year behind the Kentucky Derby. With 2,627 dogs competing from 48 states, the District of Columbia and at least six foreign countries, the heat is on for all the canine contenders to take home the title of “Best In Show.” In all, 169 breeds and varieties will be judged in seven different groups during the consecutive broadcasts, with the group winners going on to compete for the coveted prize of “Best In Show” on Tues., Feb. 12. Dr. J. Donald Jones, a retired counselling psychologist and college administrator from Marietta, Georgia, will be judging the competition.

The seven different groups that will be judged at the 2008 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show include: sporting, hound, working, terrier, toy, non-sporting and herding. Four new breeds have been recognized by the American Kennel Club for competition in 2008 including the plott (hound group), the Tibetan mastiff (working group), the Swedish vallhund (herding group) and the beauceron (herding group).

Established in 1877, the Westminster Kennel Club is America’s oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs. Over its 132 years, the show has survived power outages, snowstorms, a national depression, two World Wars and a tugboat strike that threatened to shut down the city. Famous breeders who have entered their dogs into the Westminster Dog Show included the Czar of Russia, famed American journalist Nellie Bly and baseball legend Lou Gehrig. The show is named after a Manhattan hotel where sporting gentlemen would meet to drink and talk about their shooting accomplishments. Eventually, they formed a club and bought a training area and kennel at the Westminster hotel where they kept their dogs.

Broadcast live from Madison Square Garden in New York City on Mon., Feb. 11 and Tues., Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. ET/9 p.m. PT on OLN (with an encore presentation Sat., Feb. 16 and Sun., Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. ET), the show is a celebration of purebred dogs and a way for all animal enthusiasts to revel in their emotional and spiritual attachment to their canine companions. Catch a repeat broadcast of the event Tues., Feb. 19 and 20 at 6 p.m. ET/3 p.m. PT on Animal Planet.

Highway to the Danger Zone – Jet Set Flies into OLN, February 7

Step into the cockpit and follow the highs and lows of seven pilots and five navigators as they learn how to fly the British Royal Air Force (RAF) primary attack aircraft in the new six-part series, Jet Set. Premiering Thurs., Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT on OLN, each half-hour episode of this high-flying series chronicles the gruelling six-month training course pilots and navigators must complete to become world-class aircrew on a top strike-attack jet. Narrated by Ewan McGregor (Star Wars, Long Way Round), Jet Set offers a fascinating look into the world of the RAF as the pilots and navigators learn complex flying techniques while undertaking tough tasks that push them to their physical, emotional and psychological limits.

Set at the RAF’s largest and busiest fast-jet base, RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland, the course is the culmination of years of training for the 12 students from the United Kingdom. Following the trials and triumphs of the trainees, the physical and emotional impact of the course is evident as they take the high-pressure course in the Tornado GR4 bomber. Capable of supersonic speeds exceeding 2,000 kilometres per hour, the Tornado GR4 is incredibly complex to operate. If they fail to make the grade, these students will face reassignment, possibly to administrative work in the British Forces. With the fear of having their career hopes dashed, get a behind-the-scenes look at life for the trainees, including the camaraderie and the rivalry between pilots, navigators, instructors, air crew and ground crew. With the stakes this high, who will make the cut in the elite air force training course?

Episode highlights from Jet Set include:

Jet Set: “Ground School”

Thurs., Feb. 7 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT

Watch as the rookies arrive at RAF Lossiemouth to face the toughest test of their careers to date. The seven pilots and five navigators are all motivated by the same burning ambition – to complete the Operational Conversion Unit (OCU) course that could make or break their fast jet careers. Before the students get their hands on the Tornado GR4 jet – the RAF’s primary attack aircraft – they have to successfully graduate from Ground School. This pre-flight phase lasts five weeks, during which the students have to prove that they have what it takes to tackle the Tornado. The Tornado GR4 is one of the most potent jets in the Air Force’s artillery and is also one of the most challenging to operate.

Jet Set: “The Sims”

Thurs., Feb. 14 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT

Two weeks into their training, the 12 student pilots and navigators are ready to move on to the critical simulator phase of the OCU course. The simulator the students will use is much like a multi-million dollar computer game which is the Tornado GR4’s virtual sister and one of the most advanced simulators in the world. Over five weeks, the trainee pilots and navigators will fly 11 increasingly difficult flights in the virtual jet before being let loose in the real thing. Flying the simulator is incredibly realistic; the only difference is that it can’t replicate G-force. It is both physically and mentally demanding, but with one major advantage – here, mistakes can’t be fatal.

Jet Set: “Flying Solo”

Thurs., Feb. 21 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT

The students at RAF Lossiemouth are getting closer to achieving their ultimate dream – to fly the Tornado GR4. Some, however, are not as close as others. One exam stands between them and the complex aircraft. Watch as the students get ready to take to the skies, initially with an instructor, and then on their first major solo attempt. To add to the challenge, monsoon rains hit Scotland and make the flight test even more difficult. The stormy weather poses no problems for the course’s top performers, but can all the others be just as successful?

Jet Set: “Bombs Away”

Thurs., Feb. 28 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT

The pressure is mounting for the trainees who are ready to embark on the most critical stage – the weapons phase. The jet is equipped with both guns and bombs that are capable of destroying armoured convoys, hardened bunkers and aircraft shelters. The practise bombs the trainees will be using simulate the thousand-dollar bombs that are used on the front line. The students must now prove that they can get the bombs on target on time, within a 10-second time parameter. This test is designed to prepare the trainees for combat when the pressure will be extremely high, both in terms of survival and dropping weapons accurately. It is not just in the air that the students are feeling the heat; the time has come for the trainees to undertake some survival training which includes nuclear, biological and chemical instruction along with a rigorous fitness test.

Jet Set: “The Dark Side”

Thurs., March 6 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT

In the penultimate episode of Jet Set, the students find out where they’ll be posted for the next three years if they pass the course. It is also time for rookie pilots and navigators to become more comfortable with low level night flying. It’s hands off for the trainee pilots as they put their complete trust in the jet’s autopilot technology while coasting at 76 metres from the ground at 643 kilometres per hour.

Jet Set: “Make or Break”

Thurs., March 20 at 8:30 p.m. ET/9:30 p.m. PT

The rookie Tornado pilots and navigators are nearing the end of extremely intensive training. With the finish line in sight, the pressure reaches new heights. In their final outing, the trainees will be tasked with attacking targets and dropping bombs and weapons, all the while undergoing ground attacks, such as surface to air missiles. If this isn’t enough to contend with, they must also out-manoeuvre instructors who will adopt the guise of an enemy aircraft. Don’t miss the final flight test that uses all the GR4’s capabilities to determine who will graduate the course and join a front line squadron.

OLN captures the adventurous spirit and passion for the great outdoors. Rough and tough, bone-breaking action and danger, OLN is Canada’s leader in outdoor programming with a focus on life beyond the comforts of home. OLN’s cutting-edge western lifestyle, outdoor exploration, survival, strength and reality programming is second only to extensive coverage from the most physically gruelling events from around the world, including the Tour de France, The Amazing Race and the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Visit Canada’s roughest, most rugged and entertaining network online at www.tsn.ca/oln. CTV Inc. is the managing partner of OLN.