In fact, their problems began much earlier than that. As mere undergraduates, they had no money, no cars, nothing. But with a cool audacity, which was to become characteristic, they set to work – wheedling and cajoling. First, they coaxed the BBC to come up with some film for a possible TV series. They then gently persuaded the manufacturers to lend them two factory-fresh Land Rovers. A publisher was even sweet-talked into giving them an advance on a book. By the time they were ready to go, their sponsors (more than 80 of them) ranged from whiskey distillers to the makers of collapsible buckets. In late 1955, they set off.
Seven months and 12,000 miles later, two very weary Land Rovers, escorted by police outriders, rolled into Singapore – to flash bulbs and champagne.
Now, fifty years on, their book, ‘First Overland’, is republished – with a foreword by Sir David Attenborough. After all, it was he who gave them that film.