Debbie McGee is one of the star names taking part in Pilgrimage: The Road to Santiago.
Seven famous faces are set to travel the famous medieval pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, in a new three-part travelogue series for BBC Two which begins tonight.
Bringing together religious and spiritual debate and personal stories of self-discovery, stars including Neil Morrissey, Heather Small and Debbie McGee will be stripped of their everyday comforts to become modern-day pilgrims as they make their way along this well-trodden pilgrimage route.
The group – made up of a variety of faiths and beliefs, including Christian, atheist and humanist – will live as simple pilgrims. Staying in traditional hostels and carrying everything they need on their backs, the seven pilgrims will travel through vast mountain ranges and stunning landscapes in France and Spain as they explore the spiritual meaning of the Camino de Santiago.
Walking alongside hundreds of other pilgrims, they visit historic landmarks and meet incredible people as they slowly reveal their own beliefs and faiths whilst learning more about themselves and each other.
But the journey is anything but a walk in the park. The physical challenge proves too much for some and the group comes together as theology debates both divide and unite along the way. The modern-day pilgrims also begin to question whether a medieval pilgrimage has spiritual relevance in today’s world as they gain a greater insight into the meaning of faith.
Debbie McGee’s career has spanned the world of show business; from ballet and modern dance to TV, film and theatre. Debbie currently presents her own show on BBC Radio Berkshire and is well-known from her appearances on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing and Celebrity Master Chef. Debbie for nearly thirty years was married to the late magician Paul Daniels, she as Paul’s assistant reached millions of viewers weekly on his Magic Show, which aired on BBC One from the 1970s through to the 1990s.
Now Debbie shares her thoughts on her latest magical television experience.
What were you hoping to experience travelling the famous medieval pilgrimage, Camino de Santiago?
I wanted to find out what previous pilgrims had found so enlightening.
What was your favourite moment of the journey?
The early morning walks down into Santiago de Compostela. It was the final day when all seven of us walked as dawn was breaking into Santiago de Compostela.
What was the most challenging aspect?
Walking with blisters in the heat!
Did the pilgrimage impact on your own beliefs about faith?
Not at the time, but it made me think about my faith afterwards.
What was the most surprising thing you learned – either about the people you met, the places you visited or yourself?
I could rough it with more ease than I would have expected.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to somebody considering the Camino de Santiago?
Stay in nice hotels and have your luggage sent on ahead!