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The Mighty Mississippi With Nick Knowles | Preview (Channel 5)

Nick Knowles embarks on another extraordinary adventure, travelling right to the heart of America, where he follows the mighty Mississippi River from Minneapolis in the north all the way south to New Orleans.

Taking the Great River Road, which hugs the Mississippi for most of its length, Nick explores the river’s tragic past through its connection to slavery and, nearly 100 years later, its role in the civil rights movement.

On the way he visits a trailblazing Native American restaurant, sees a spectacular display of water-skiing (a sport invented on this very waterway), and briefly joins a motorbike gang for a whizz on a Harley. The series courses through the history and geography of one of the largest rivers in the world, exploring its iconic role as the backbone of America.

In the first episode, Nick travels from Minneapolis in Minnesota to St Louis, Missouri. Kicking off with a helicopter ride along the northernmost stretch of the river, Nick eats at a trailblazing restaurant in Minneapolis. The brainchild of Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman, it showcases Native American dishes, and uses only authentic ingredients such as white cedar, huckleberries and elk. The results are delicious.

Nick heads south along the Great River Road, which follows the length of the Mississippi. A motorbike gang’s offer to swap his pick-up for a Harley-Davidson proves irresistible, but Nick wonders if he’s stumbled into an outlaw motorcycle gang. Happily, they turn out to be an ‘in law’ gang – they all work in the legal profession.

The Mississippi River was the birthplace of water skiing, so Nick teams up with a water-ski display team to have a go, with comedic results, before the professionals show him their amazing formation stunts. At Lake Pepin, Nick joins efforts to conserve the American paddlefish, a species that’s older than the dinosaurs. Acting as anaesthetist to a 40-pound whopper while it’s fitted with a tracking device is a novelty.

Continuing along the Great River Road into Missouri, Nick reaches Hannibal, the birthplace of Samuel Clemens, the author we know as Mark Twain, famed for his novels about Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. A museum in Hannibal also gives Nick a sobering insight into real lives of enslaved people along the Mississippi.

In St Louis, Nick prepares to spectate at a Major League Baseball game, but the St Louis Cardinals have a surprise for him. Following in the footsteps of Presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, he’s invited to throw a ceremonial first pitch. In a 46,000-seater stadium, it’s a nerve-wracking introduction to the sport!

The Mighty Mississippi with Nick Knowles begins Thursday 29th February on Channel 5.


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