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Martin Clunes Islands of America

  • Episode:

    2 of 4

  • Transmission (TX):

    Tue 12 Feb 2019

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 07 2019 : Sat 09 Feb - Fri 15 Feb

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Wed 30 Jan 2019

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Series overview


 “Everyone has an image of America: A land of big shops, bright lights and asphalt highways stretching right across the continent. But there is another America – and I set out to find it.”  Martin Clunes


Martin Clunes embarks on an epic journey around the coast of America to discover what life is like on the surrounding islands for a new documentary series for ITV, Islands of America. 


Following the successful series on the Islands of Britain and Is-lands of Australia, Martin has developed a fascination for the unique quality and appeal of island life, often in the most remote places on the planet.


This time he sets off on a 10,000 mile journey, from the west to the east,  to explore the vast swathe of islands which are scat-tered beyond America’s shores. He travels from Hawaii’s islands of fire and Alaska’s islands of snow and ice, to the playgrounds of presidents off the New England coast.



Martin says: “I wanted to look beyond corporate America and dis-cover the other United States, out past the mainland margins, and what life is like on these unique and diverse islands.


“On this island journey I meet men and women who’ve lived through many of nature’s worst extremes. And it seems one thing they all share is a profound wisdom about these challenges.”


Episode  2


In this episode Martin’s travels take him 1500 miles to the San Juan Islands in Washington State, just off America’s North West Pacific coast, right on the border with Canada. There are more than 100 islands, mostly uninhabited.


He lands on Orcas Island, before taking to the air in a 1920s bi-plane flown by local dentist and passionate pilot Stuart McPherson. As they fly over San Juan, the most populated of the islands, the celebrations for America’s biggest national holiday, the 4th July Independence Day are in full swing.


Local historian Robin Jacobson meets Martin on San Juan to explain how the island was the scene of America’s last war with Britain. A conflict caused by a pig being shot.


From the San Juan Islands Martin travels down America’s West coast to visit the Channel Islands National Park, which is known as ‘America’s Galapagos’ because of their unique wildlife.


San Miguel Island is home to more than 100,000 seals and sea lions. Martin joins conservationist Dr Tony Orr to watch the seals from the safety of a wooden box on wheels, so as not to disturb them.


Martin observes: “It is unbelievable to be right smack in the middle of them all – it is a real privilege.”


From the Channel Islands Martin takes a 2000 mile journey across the States to Avery Island which sits inland from the Gulf of Mexico, rising 150 feet above the surrounding Bayou.


The island is home to one of America’s most successful family-run businesses - Tabasco chilli sauce. Chilli peppers were first planted on the island more than 150 years ago by Tabasco’s founder, Edmund McIlhenny, a former banker with a love of hot sauce.


Martin is invited into the Tabasco factory to watch the world famous sauce being processed. In the barrel store where Tabasco mash has been ageing for three years Managing Director Tony Simmons, the great great grandson of the company’s founder, invites Martin to sample the mash.


Martin says: “I’m a huge chilli sauce fan - I even make my own at home, so a chance to see behind the scenes of Tabasco feels like a pilgrimage.


Just along the coast from Avery Island Louisiana’s island communities are being washed away, destroyed by climate change, rising sea levels and violent weather. Each year Louisiana loses 75 square feet to erosion and rising sea levels. 


Ten years after Hurricane Katrina hit the States, and flooded New Orleans, new multi billion dollar flood defences were built. Dubbed the ‘Great Wall of Louisiana’ it is formed of 200 flood gates which shut in the event of another hurricane.


Curious to discover how people on the other side of the wall have fared Martin visits Delacroix Island to meet a local fisherman, Thomas Gonzales, who was born on the island eighty years ago, and whose family have lived on the island for generations.


The series producer is Ian Leese, who also directs episodes one and three. Tom McCarthy produces and directs episodes two and four.  The executive producers are Bill Jones and Philippa Braithwaite.