Press Centre

Martin Clunes Islands of America

  • Episode:

    3 of 4

  • Transmission (TX):

    Tue 19 Feb 2019

  • TX Confirmed


  • Time

    9.00pm - 10.00pm

  • Week:

    Week 08 2019 : Sat 16 Feb - Fri 22 Feb

  • Channel:


  • Published:

    Wed 06 Feb 2019

The information contained herein is embargoed from all Press, online, social media, non-commercial publication or syndication - in the public domain - until Tuesday 12 February 2019.


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 3


The colourful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, America’s third largest island, and the only one where Spanish is the main language is Martin’s next stop on his island odyssey. 


In 2017 Hurricane Maria ripped through the island causing the worst disaster in the island’s history, flattening forests and houses and ultimately claiming thousands of lives. One year on Martin sees how the Puerto Ricans have begun to recover from the disaster. 


The island is famous for its vibrant salsa dance and music. Tito Ortos, one of Puerto Rico’s finest salsa teachers, teaches Martin the basic steps of the island’s famous dance.


With the help of local guide Hector Negrón Martin is taken to see how nature is also recovering after the devastation of the hurricane. Before Hurricane María, this was one of the best places in the world to see a fragile but spectacular natural phenomenon called bioluminescence.


Martin says: “What a great way to end my time on this exciting island. It’s wonderful to see how nature has recovered from the terrible hurricane; the rainforest is regrowing, and the good nature of the people never went away.”


Leaving Puerto Rico, Martin travels north to the Sea Islands along the coast of Georgia and the Carolinas. They’re home to the unique Gullah Geechee people, descendants of African slaves who once worked the plantations on these islands. Thanks to their island remoteness, they were able to hold on to much of their African heritage in ways that mainland slaves could not.


He travels by boat to beautiful Sapelo Island, spending time with the Geechee people of the tiny Hog Hammock community. He helps to pick West African red peas, fishes with the villagers, and learns to weave grass baskets the African way, finishing with a feast of traditional Sapelo dishes.


Martin attends a unique world famous event on the quiet island backwater of Chincoteague. On the last Wednesday of every July, the island is swamped by tens of thousands of visitors for the annual Chincoteague Pony Swim. 


He watches as 40 local ‘saltwater cowboys’ – as they’re known – round up a herd of wild ponies, ready to drive them into the water and across the channel.


The swim takes place off the coast of Virginia, between two parallel islands: beginning on Assateague, the ponies’ natural home, and ending on Chincoteague, which gave the wild pony breed its name. After the big swim the ponies are auctioned to raise funds for the island’s voluntary fire service.


Horse lover Martin is in his element at the event. He travels in a boat with cowboy Roe Terry, so he can see up close how tricky it is to keep fifty wild animals all moving in the right direction.


“Ponies are naturally good swimmers, but I’ve never been this close to so many all swimming at the same time,” Martin says.


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.