February 2020

M6: ‘Pékin Express’ Returns To Its Roots

02/21/2020, Paris

For 15 years now, “Pékin Express” has been traveling around the world, captivating millions of viewers along the way. Now M6’s popular adventure series returns to its roots. Starting February 25, it will travel from Paris to Beijing. On one euro a day. Just like in 2005. And pairs of contestants from some of the twelve seasons to date will be on board.

Russia, Inner Mongolia, the Great Wall of China, Beijing – these were the first “Pékin Express” destinations on M6 in 2005. And they are also the destinations of “Pekin Express 2020.” Fifteen years after the launch of the travel and adventure show, after trips through five continents and some of the most fascinating regions on earth, the series is returning to its roots… to the route it is named after. And that’s not all: the race across Asia will be “run” by seven pairs of contestants who have already won the hearts of many millions of viewers in previous seasons with their originality, wit, charm, stamina, emotionality, and courage. They are also accompanied by an old friend. Stéphane Rotenberg, a presenter from the very beginning, will also be hosting the new season of the “Pékin Express,” which will start rolling out of Paris during primetime on Tuesday, February 25. Headed for China.

The principle of the show, which has repeatedly earned M6 record ratings, also remains unchanged: Teams of two contestants each have to manage each stage on a budget of just one euro per day. In between, tricky tasks must be solved, obstacles overcome, and tests passed. In the end, one of the pairs wins. As reported, “Pékin Express” returned to the screens in 2018 after a four-year break. Viewers also quickly returned, ensuring that the 13th season can now begin. Over the years, 190 contestants have crossed 35 countries in North, Central, and South America, Europe, Asia, Oceania, and Africa, covering 129,600 kilometers in the process.

And because the cameras were, of course, always with them, 471 days of filming for 134 individual episodes of the “Pékin Express” have been compiled to date. Stéphane Rotenberg was always there too. In an interview he recalls the beginnings: “It was incredible at the time: I stood in the middle of Moscow’s Red Square and waited for the contestants – not knowing when they would arrive, or even whether they would arrive at all.” He says it was only when the contestants arrived that he realized how much this format differed from all the others. Now that he has returned to Moscow, Rotenberg says he felt a kind of happy nostalgia. For the new season of the “Pékin Express” the M6 presenter promises “the essence of everything that viewers love about it”: an electrifying adventure, exciting tasks and rules, and contestants who have synonymous for the entire format.

First impressions of the seven pairs of contestants are already promising: There are 82-year-old Maurice and his son Thierry, who in the eleventh season dragged a 24-kilo statue around the Philippines without giving up. The sisters Pauline and Aurélie, who demonstrated their fighting spirit in the third season, will also be with them at the start. The lovers from season eleven, Maxime and Alizée, are now married and are also on board. The same goes for the Corsican couple Julie and Denis, who couldn’t resist the call of the new adventure despite now having a young daughter. The two lumberjack brothers Thomas and Matthieu will once again rely on physical strength and spontaneity, their recipe for success in the previous season. Cécilia and Matthieu, the winners of the fifth trip, are now divorced, but are back on board as “exes.” Ingrid and Fabrice do not know each other yet. She was in season seven; he in season twelve. Now they will set off together on a great adventure for “Pékin Express” on M6.