Member log in

Hobbit star sells New Zealand in UK Christmas day TV special

A one-hour documentary by Hobbit star James Nesbitt will screen on Christmas Day in the UK to an estimated audience of four million.

The show, River Deep, Mountain High, is dedicated entirely to New Zealand and follows Nesbitt as he journeys north to south, taking in some of the country’s landscapes and tourism experiences along the way.

Nesbitt, who has featured in TV series such as Monroe, Cold Feet and Murphy’s Law, came to New Zealand while filming Sir Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy and returned earlier this year to film his documentary with Alaska TV.

Tourism New Zealand’s director of trade, PR and major events Justin Watson says the show is bound to stimulate the desire for a New Zealand holiday in all those British folk experiencing a wintry Christmas day.

“We know that the endorsement of others remains one of the most influential factors in helping people make travel decisions and when endorsement comes from popular and appealing celebrities, the impact is even stronger,” he says.

An ITV press release quotes Nesbitt as saying: “It’s a country of contrasts, from its extraordinary, untamed landscapes to its modern cosmopolitan cities, from tribal warrior traditions to the world’s third most peaceful nation. And yet despite being so far away it feels surprisingly familiar.”

The release says Nesbitt travelled 1000 miles from Auckland to Wanaka, visiting Waitomo; Rotorua; Wellington; Nelson; Christchurch and Central Otago along the way. He also meets former All Black Jonah Lomu, Sir Peter and Sam Neill.

River Deep, Mountain High screens at 2pm and 3om on ITV and ITV+1 on December 25.