Starting at 9:00pm on Sunday, 22 June, 2014, BBC Two’s new series ‘A Cabbie Abroad’ takes a look at how the challenges of driving a taxi for a living can differ immensely, depending on where you are in the world.
Over the course of this three-part series, London Cabbie Mason McQueen takes on the task of driving in three very different, and extreme cities.
Episode 1 – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
The first show see’s Mason travel to the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, where he must get to grips with one of the worlds most unique varieties of taxi, the tuk tuk. With an incredible six thousand of these modified scooters currently transporting passengers around the city each and every day, it’s survival of the fittest on these chaotic roads. Guided by his Cambodian, tuk tuk driving host Polo Doot, and after just 10 days of training, this plucky Brit will try his best to make it as a Phnom Penh cabbie.
Episode 2 – Iqaluit, Canada
Part 2 of A Cabbie Abroad follows Mason McQueen as he goes to work on the edge of the Canadian Arctic, in one of the coldest and most remote cities on the planet, Iqaluit. There the London cabbie will join a small but brave band of taxi drivers, who must take to the roads whatever the weather. With the city having no public transport system, these taxis have become vital in keeping Iqaluit moving.
Episode 3 – Suva, Fiji
Hundreds of thousands of tourists flock to the South Pacific islands of Fiji each year, but Mason McQueen is here for no holiday. The cockney cabbie will be joining the taxi ranks of the buzzing capital Suva and plying his trade – island style. Mason’s host Dharmendra Kumar is, like nearly half the islanders, a direct descendant of sugar plantation labourers brought from India when the British colonised the islands.
For another view of Fiji Mason teams up with the doorman of a local hotel to taste the traditional indigenous Fijian way of life. He undergoes an ancient Island ritual which involves drinking a narcotic brew made from a local root and goes spear fishing in the turquoise waters.
But as he learns his way around the city Mason also discovers a very different Fiji to the tourist brochures. In recent years there have been ethnic tensions and thousands of Fijian Indians have left the islands following a series of military coups carried out by an army dominated by indigenous Fijians. With the country now expelled from the Commonwealth, it’s a far cry from the idyllic island life you might expect for a cabbie in paradise.
A Cabbie Abroad BBC Two Trailer