Simon Reeve: BBC star on ‘crazy’ moment he was held at gunpoint ‘Had us in the kill zone’

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Author and television presenter Simon Reeve, 47, has become somewhat of a travel documentary phenomenon, escaping the UK to venture off all over the world, sampling new cultures and taking away life lessons. But there was one moment he’d like to forget, however it’s one that will remain with him in his nightmares forever.

They had us against a concrete wall in the kill zone and they had 50 calibre machine guns pointing at our heads

Simon Reeve

Having made a name for himself covering the stories of other people by creating travel documentaries for the BBC, Reeve travelled to Djibouti in East Africa.

But he found himself in a terrifying situation where he and his guide were held at gunpoint on a US military base after soldiers found “kalashnikov rounds” in their car, that were from a previous hunt.

In a recent interview, he recalled the uncertain moments where he didn’t know what would happen next.

“The Americans went mad!” he exclaimed.

“They had us against a concrete wall in the kill zone and they had 50 calibre machine guns pointing at our heads.”

But he added: “Those moments are few and far between – partly because the world is a safe place and partly because I get into a little bubble of conviction that the force field will protect us.”

It’s not the only time Reeve found himself in the line of fire.

The spontaneity of his documentaries allow room for “bonkers things to happen and go wrong”.

“That’s how it should be on a journey,” he said, after admitting they make it up as they go along.

“On the front line in Mogadishu, fighters on the other side were setting up rocket propelled grenades to launch an attack, probably because we were there.”

The situation forced Reeve to run across open ground under sniper fire, a feeling he tried to describe by knocking the table and imitating a dramatic heartbeat.

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Despite travelling the world, he experienced one of his real “low” points in Ethiopia, a memory that will “linger” forever more.

“Being in Ethiopia, having mothers offering me their babies because they would have a better chance was a low,” he remembered.

“That doesn’t go away, that lingers.

Simon’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times. [RADIO TIMES]

He continued to tell Radio Times: “Seeing an old woman who looked like my grandma begging from tables in Dushanbe in Tajikistan was a really affecting experience.

“I never quite got over it – not that you should. I don’t want to be hardened to it.”

Reeve added: “Perhaps I’m a little too touched by the experiences.”

Simon’s full interview is available to read now in Radio Times.

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