In what will be another demanding route, Pilgrimage: The Road through Portugal (w/t) takes seven well known personalities of differing faiths and beliefs on a personal journey along the northern route of the Fatima Way in Portugal.
The seven celebrity pilgrims taking part in Pilgrimage: The Road through Portugal (w/t) are actor Su Pollard, who was raised Church of England; Jewish actress Rita Simons; Pentecostal Born-Again Christian, Shane Lynch of Boyzone fame; reality TV star and influencer, Vicky Pattison, who is agnostic.
Plus, Bobby Seagull, a practising Catholic, maths whizz and TV personality; Nabil Abdulrashid, a comedian and practising Muslim; and Paralympian skier Millie Knight, who is non-practising Church of England.
Their destination is the Sanctuary in the city of Fatima, where in 1917 three local shepherd children experienced several apparitions of the Virgin Mary. What was once a small village is now one of the biggest Catholic pilgrimage destinations in the world.
For the first time ever, the celebrity pilgrims are on a deadline: they need to arrive in time for a major celebration which ends with a spectacular night-time candlelit vigil, attended by nearly 70,000 pilgrims who have travelled from across the world to celebrate the story of the miraculous apparitions of the Virgin Mary.
Tackling this 364km pilgrimage over 15 days, the celebrity pilgrims will travel through the heart of northern Portugal’s stunning landscapes. Carrying their own backpacks, they will sleep in rough and ready pilgrim hostels, a basic campsite, as well as a working fire station. It’s a tough challenge, so will they all make it to Fatima on time?
Along the route, the pilgrims will visit many places of significant interest including Bom Jesus do Monte, a UNESCO world heritage site and a medieval synagogue, which became a prison and a hayloft, before being preserved as a museum, recapturing its former history.
In Coimbra, the capital of Portugal in the early Middle Ages, they visit a closed order of nuns and meet Sister Ana Sofia who served alongside Sister Lucia, one of the shepherd children, before she died. The pilgrims hear first-hand how sister Lucia's life changed after the seemingly miraculous events that put a small Portuguese village on the global stage.
On their journey, the celebrity pilgrims explore each other’s faiths; whilst sampling local delicacies in Mealhada, a small town famous for its roast suckling pigs, they discover the dark history behind this traditional culinary speciality and its implications for some of the pilgrims’ religions.
The critically acclaimed Pilgrimage series returns to BBC Two and iPlayer in Spring 2023 with a new 3x60 minute series.