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Narrow Escapes

Narrow Escapes is Channel 4’s latest foray into canal-centric television. Amelia Saxena meets some of its liveaboard stars

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Filmed during the spring and summer of 2023 over three months, Channel 4’s newest canal-themed series Narrow Escapes follows a large and diverse cast of people who’ve made the inland waterways their home. The team behind the programme, production company Bowled Over Media, was keen to put the ‘real’ back into canal-focused reality TV. “We didn’t orchestrate anything,” says creative director Heidi Gomes.

“The thing that distinguishes it from all those other lovely shows on the canals is that we were asked by the contributors to show everything as it is. We get all the beautiful scenery, the appreciation of what it’s like to live among nature, but also an engine blowing up and boaters finding nowhere to moor.”


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Broad spectrum of boaters

Families, couples, single-handers, continuous cruisers and marina-dwellers all feature in the series, reflecting a broad spectrum and age range of liveaboard boaters.

“Most of the production team are under 25, so they very much have their fingers on the pulse in terms of social media. We found a lot of people through TikTok and YouTube,” says Heidi. “When we met everyone in person, we found such a lovely community. A lot of them knew or knew of each other, so we had lots more recommendations for other participants.”


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The team was also keen to feature roving traders in every episode. “We did the programme with the support of the Canal & River Trust, who helped us in finding floating businesses too.” 

“We had so much brilliant content and it was such a fun experience shooting on the canals and rivers,” she adds. “We have a good selection of contributors held over whose stories weren’t quite finished, so we’re really hoping for a second series.”

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Where to watch

Narrow Escapes is airing on Channel 4 on weekday afternoons. Catch up with all 20 episodes online at channel4.com.

All pictures: Bowled Over Media 


This is an extract of the feature that appears in the July 2024 issue of Waterways Worldclick here to read the full article.