FROM Kyrgyzstan to the Tropic of Cancer, Simon Reeve has travelled through 120 countries shining a light on some of the world’s most forgotten corners. But one of his most favourite places in the world is Studland beach in Dorset! The intrepid explorer spent most of his childhood holidays either in Bournemouth, Sandbanks or the Purbecks.

“We went there year after year. I didn’t get on a plane until I started work. Our holidays were always in Dorset. I love Studland - it is one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet. I remember getting lost in the dunes with my brother and accidentally on purpose wandering into the nudist beach, nearly getting run over by a boat, winning a sandcastle competition - that was an epic moment in my life. The journey to Wareham was always terrifying because the traffic on that road is always bad. My dad would become a demon when he got behind the wheel of our fourth hand Volvo overtaking up to eight cars in one go - but at least we got to see the sea faster.”

Simon said he was really looking forward to coming back to Dorset with his one man show at Bournemouth Pavilion on Sunday, November 10.

“I went to watch the panto as a kid at the Pavilion so to be on stage there is something that really gets your heart going and puts a lump in your throat – I’m incredibly excited about it!”

And this from a man who has been chased by pirates, hounded by the Mafia and bombed by Columbian barons.

But then Simon’s own journey from troubled teenager to TV star has been every bit as turbulent as his on-screen adventures.

In a previous interview with the Echo he told how he had dropped out of school with no qualifications, no prospects became involved in drugs and crime and at one point considered taking his own life.

“I had thought for weeks about using a kitchen knife on myself, about taking handfuls of pills. I thought about stepping in front of a train or a Tube.”

Now his BBC documentaries are being shown in more than 60 countries and his last tour sold out at every Dorset venue which is why it has been extended to meet demand.

“I’m surprised and amazed,” he says. “ I guess it’s because I’ve been on telly for a while now. I think people like the fact that it’s not all about me and my blisters. I like to think the programmes are about the people I meet on my journey rather than about my journey.

“Although it’s the same tour there will be a few more stories. I think it is absolutely amazing how the tour keeps rolling on and long may it last. I love the chance to meet the audience and give them the chance to chuck some tricky questions at me which keeps me on my toes.”

And there’s no danger of Simon ever taking his situation for granted.

“There have been times over the years when I’ve thought this is it. I nearly died of malaria but I was quite relieved when they told me I had malaria because I thought I had Ebola which would have been significantly worse.

“I’ve stared down the barrel of guns and that is a very unpleasant experience as you don’t know how it’s going to turn out and you have to accept that fate has brought you to that moment and fate will decide the outcome.

“But then you have to balance it up with the fact that we live in a country where thousands of people end up in hospital after having accidents just by putting their trousers on in the morning!

“Life is fundamentally tricky and risky and dangerous. Overall though, I genuinely think that the world is in the main, a safe and very welcoming place.”

He adds: “TV is a fickle business though and I know this gig could be taken off me at any time. I’ve done jobs where I’ve earned £2.17 an hour so I appreciate that doing something like this is an absolute blessing.”