The Two Amigos: A Gaucho Adventure

Confirmed for BBC Two on 31 August at 9.00pm to 10.00pm

Ep 1/2

Sunday 31 August



Comedians John Thomson and Simon Day have been friends for over 20 years, ever since they rose to fame in The Fast Show in the 1990s.

They’ve travelled together before as young, free, single men, though these days they’re both married with young children and enjoying family life. But now they’ve got the chance to escape the pressures of modern-day middle age, to don the ‘poncho of freedom’ and become the free spirits they once were. Our Two Amigos are leaving the comfort of home to learn the ways of the gaucho - Argentina’s rugged cowboy, national icon and the embodiment of freedom and courage. 

This two-part series follows John and Simon over three intense weeks, as these very novice riders take a crash course in horses, lassoing and herding, before working alongside traditional gauchos on a real cattle drive in the foothills of the Andes Mountains. Their challenge: to bring 200 cattle down a mountain pass - 50 miles of riding over three days and nights, exposed to the elements, and sleeping under the stars. Are these comedians with soft hands ready to find the gaucho within? Their journey is a warm and hilarious insight into the friendship of two of Britain’s favourite comic actors, while revealing the fascinating and threatened culture of the Argentinian gaucho.

In the first episode we join John and Simon as they set off for Argentina to reconnect with their former free-spirited selves. From Buenos Aires, they get their road trip under way by heading to a local gaucho festival near the town of Pilar, where 10,000 gauchos and enthusiasts congregate to celebrate their heritage.

In the heyday of the 19th Century, 200,000 gauchos roamed free, taming wild horses and hunting and gathering cattle. John and Simon witness true gaucho skill as some of the country’s best riders compete in La Doma, the gaucho equivalent of a rodeo.

After a long and hair-raising drive on a pot-holed road, they finally arrive at a ranch on the banks of the Corrientes river to undertake a week of training. The ranch employs a dozen gauchos who break in native Creole horses and manage 5000 cattle. The head honcho, the dashing Dario Gallardo, soon has Argentina’s newest gauchos bedecked in traditional ponchos atop two of their sturdiest horses and learning lassoing and herding. Their final task is assisting the other gauchos in herding 300 calves onto trucks bound for market. After a tough but highly successful week, The Two Amigos’ apprenticeship is over. In front of them lies the real gaucho work: a three day cattle drive in the wilds of Patagonia.