Presenter Ian Wright travels the south-east coast of
Brazil, where exports in sugar cane, gold and coffee
once made Rio de Janeiro one of the greatest cities
of the colonial era. Nowadays the capital city of Brazil
and the carnival capital of the world is most renowned
as the home of samba & soccer.
After checking into a cheap hotel, Ian checks out the
beach at Copacabana. After a white-knuckle
bus ride to the overcrowded half-mile strip of seashore
where the locals cariocas hang out, he's quick to find
instruction in beach etiquette from two seasoned beach
From the Centro district of the city Ian takes the only
remaining tram in Rio to the wealthy district of Santa
Tereza. Since 1971 this area has been called
home by notorious ex-train robber Ronnie Biggs. He was
sentenced to 30 years for his part in the Great Train
Robbery of 1963 but escaped from his British jail and
went on the run. He's still a wanted man in Britain
but he's enjoying his twilight years in Rio running
barbecues for carnival-goers and telling his life story
A tourist train takes Ian to the top of Corcovado,
the 2,200 foot mountain at the top of which is the massive
statue of Christ the Redeemer is the most enduring picture-postcard
image of Rio as it towers over the entire city. He then
takes in the Taguca National Park,
a seventy square-mile tropical rainforest right in the
centre of the city. The Peak at Pedra Bonita is a natural wonder, and for the best aerial views of
Rio, Ian goes hang-gliding over the city vistas.
The favellas of Rio are well off the usual tourist trail
and many visitors don't venture into these shanty towns
to find out how a third of the population lives. Ian
is shown around this city-within-a-city by tour organiser
A short trip across the bay is the Museum of Contemporary
Art at Niteroi. It's Rio's most modernist
building and architect Oscar Niemeyer based his design
on a champagne glass. He doesn't stop to admire the
content of the museum, though, as he's on his way to
an important game - Btofogo v Flamengo at the Maracana
Stadium. It's home to the nation's true passion,
football, and emotions run high at this lively local
On the 6th day of his stay in Rio, Ian flags down a
bus along the coastal highway 101 to Parati.
The colonial town used to be renowned for its coffee
though nowadays its better known for cachaça.
Ian visits a workshop, witnesses its creation and samples
the pure alcoholic beverage.
Back in Rio the carnival celebrations are heating up
and revellers are preparing for the week of festivities
which signify the beginning of Lent. But before he can
join the main parade Ian has to learn how to samba.
At the Caprichosos de Pilares samba
school they've been creating songs and costumes all
year round in preparation of the big day, and now rehearsals
are at a fever pitch. On the big day of the carnival
all the samba schools are in fierce competition. Ian
meets up with his samba school at last and, in full
costume, takes up his position for the parade. Sixty
minutes of solid samba and its all over, an amazing,
electric experience that leaves Ian ready to go at it
all over again!
It's his last night in Rio and Ian finds out how the
other-half celebrate carnival at the Copacabana
Palace Ball & the Scala Gay Carnival
Ball. He parties till the sun comes up, the
perfect way to end his week-long stay in Rio de Janeiro.