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Episode 3

Documentary following some of the million people who smuggled themselves into Europe in 2015, including 21-year-old Alaigie, whose journey through Africa proves dangerous.

Twelve months ago, the production team began giving camera phones to people attempting to reach Europe, escaping war, poverty or persecution. They were prepared to film where regular film crews could not go: on the inflatable dinghies crossing from Turkey to Greece, in the back of lorries entering the Eurotunnel, or on open trucks driven by people smugglers across the Sahara.

21-year-old Alaigie is preparing to leave Gambia to travel 'the back way' 6,000 kilometres to Italy to find work. Following his father's death, Alaigie's dreams of becoming an engineer were shattered, and he needs to earn money to support his family. He films the dangerous journey through Africa via a network of smugglers, at the mercy of thieves and violent border guards, across the Sahara in overloaded trucks to Tripoli. But instead of getting on a boat as he had expected, Alaigie is kidnapped and a ransom is demanded. His family in Gambia struggle to raise the money to pay.

Meanwhile, Syrian Kurd Ahmad's attempt to be smuggled into Britain in the back of a lorry finally pays off, and he's sent to Wakefield while his asylum claim is processed. He's desperate to get leave to remain so that he can bring his wife and daughters out of Syria. With their home town under attack from Daesh (so-called Islamic State) and the Assad regime, the clock is ticking for him to get them to safety.

And 27-year-old Hassan, who survived the sinking of his dinghy in the Mediterranean, has reached Calais and the Jungle. But every attempt to board a train or lorry is thwarted. In desperation he tries to fly to the UK on a fake Czech passport, but the final few miles prove the hardest to travel.

59 minutes

Last on

Sat 28 Oct 2017 00:20

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Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:35

    Swizz Beatz


  • 00:57

    Tanya Markova

    Grand Finals Destination


Role Contributor
Director James Bluemel
Series Producer Jane Merkin
Series Editor Simon Sykes


  • Wed 13 Jul 2016 21:00
  • Wed 20 Jul 2016 00:15
  • Fri 29 Jul 2016 00:45
  • Fri 19 Aug 2016 00:05
  • Sat 28 Oct 2017 00:20

Learn more with The Open University

Learn more with The Open University

Visit the OU’s Exodus free learning website at OpenLearn.

The stories behind the journeys

The stories behind the journeys

Find out why Hassan, Isra'a, Ahmad and Sadiq left their homes to pursue a life in Europe.