In the punningly titled Our Guy In China, premiering on Sunday 19 March 2017 at 7.00pm on Channel 4, Guy Martin’s love of industry and endeavour leads him to China, a country recognised for its innovation, technological development and gigantic manufacturing. His eclectic interests provide the guidebook as he reveals the unseen side of China’s outstanding achievements.
Guy’s adventure starts in Chongqing, the fastest growing city in the world, where he works in a factory to build his own electric motorbike. He’s surprised by the lack of automation – everything’s assembled by a skilled workforce – and realises that it’s symbolic of the wider Chinese economy, where 30 years of unprecedented growth have been sustained by a giant workforce. At the city’s docks, he meets the ‘Bang Bang Army’, a group of ageing porters who rely on immense brute strength to haul huge loads.
Guy’s keen to lend a hand but can’t shift the 200kg load without falling over, much to the amusement of the experienced Bang Bangs. His next stop is the world’s biggest public convenience: the Porcelain Palace – with 1000 toilets – is a curious result of the rush to build western-style infrastructure.
Further along the Yangtze, Guy tastes produce from a farm that fertilises its crops in the traditional way, with human faeces, before reaching the pinnacle of industrial tourism: the Three Gorges Dam, where the world’s biggest hydroelectric power station has moved so much water that it’s slowed the rotation of the Earth.
Finally, Guy reaches Shanghai and the biggest shipping port in the world, from where a shipping container leaves every two seconds. Guy ships his electric motorbike home to Grimsby before jumping on the high-speed train towards Beijing.
Executive Producer: Steve Gowans
Producers and Directors: James Woodroffe, Ewan Keil
Production Company: North One
Our Guy In China Episode 1 (of 3) airs on Sunday 19 March 2017 from 7.00pm-8.00pm on Channel 4.