Produced by Woodcut Media, the three-part series features the ‘World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ Sir Ranulph Fiennes and the EMMY Nominated Actor Joseph Fiennes


Embarking on an epic journey across Egypt, the real-life cousins attempt to re-create Sir Ranulph’s famous 1969 expedition down the Nile.

(London, UK – Monday 29th October 2018) National Geographic today announced a new adventure documentary series FIENNES: RETURN TO THE NILE. Airing globally on National Geographic in 2019, this new three part-series features the ‘World’s Greatest Living Explorer’, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, as he returns to the scene of one of his earliest feats –his 1969 expedition along the River Nile.

As the 50th anniversary of that quest approaches Sir Ranulph is ready for a new challenge: can he teach his famous cousin, actor Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaids Tale,” “Shakespeare in Love”), how to master the role of a lifetime?

For over 50 years Sir Ranulph has lived through countless escapades and life-threatening experiences.  From summiting Everest to discovering a lost city in Oman, he’s accomplished more than most men can ever dream of.  His cousin, Joseph Fiennes, is an award-winning actor, star of stage and screen, who shot to fame for his portrayal as William Shakespeare in ‘Shakespeare in Love’ and is currently starring in Emmy award-winning series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. But can Joseph cut it in Sir Ranulph’s world, does he have what it takes to be an explorer? Together they’ll crawl through the claustrophobic confines of a newly discovered ancient Egyptian tomb in Minya, get to grips with Tachtib – a traditional fighting technique using four foot sticks and come face to face with dangerous snakes and spiders.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes, commented: “I am delighted to have the opportunity to re-trace the steps of my original expedition in 1969, and this time with my cousin Joe and National Geographic. I know firsthand how fascinating and exhilarating Egypt is for an explorer and I can’t wait to show Joe the ropes and to see how much Egypt has changed in the last 50 years”.

Joseph Fiennes, who also serves as a producer on the series, commented: “I am delighted to be embarking on this adventure with National Geographic and my cousin, Ran. It is every boys dream to go on an expedition with the world’s great living explorer. I am delighted to be going on this journey.” 

Jules Oldroyd, SVP, International Programming for National Geographic commented: “Authentic, visceral and highly entertaining, FIENNES: RETURN TO THE NILE embodies National Geographic’s mission to inspire and ignite the explorer in all of us.  We are thrilled to be working with legendary explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes and critically acclaimed actor Joseph Fiennes on this exhilarating and thrilling expedition.”

Derren Lawford, Creative Director and Executive Producer, Woodcut Media, added: “This series marks Woodcut’s first commission with National Geographic and we are delighted to be co-producing this with The Development Partnership for such an iconic channel.  We know that FIENNES: RETURN TO THE NILE will take viewers on an incredibly breath-taking and unforgettable journey that will entrance audiences in the US and the world over.”

A test of grit, courage and determination, FIENNES: RETURN TO THE NILE will also showcase stunningly beautiful and desolate landscapes and reveal the bond between the cousins as they face challenges at every turn.


FIENNES: RETURN TO THE NILE will premiere in 2019 on National Geographic, airing in 172 countries and 43 languages.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes –  ©Gary Salter
Joseph Fiennes – ©Pal Hansen


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About National Geographic Partners LLC

National Geographic Partners LLC (NGP), a joint venture between National Geographic and 21st Century Fox, is committed to bringing the world premium science, adventure and exploration content across an unrivaled portfolio of media assets. NGP combines the global National Geographic television channels (National Geographic Channel, Nat Geo Wild, Nat Geo Mundo, Nat Geo People) with National Geographic’s media and consumer-oriented assets, including National Geographic magazines; National Geographic studios; related digital and social media platforms; books; maps; children’s media; and ancillary activities that include travel, global experiences and events, archival sales, licensing and e-commerce businesses. Furthering knowledge and understanding of the world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for 130 years, and now it is committed to going deeper, pushing boundaries, going further for consumers… all while reaching millions of people around the world in 172 countries and 43 languages every month. NGP returns 27 percent of its proceeds to the nonprofit National Geographic Society to fund work in the areas of science, exploration, conservation and education. For more information visit or

About Woodcut Media

With offices in London and Hampshire, Woodcut Media, a member of the Anthology Group of businesses, is one of the fastest growing Indies in the UK, producing a broad range of factual programming. A leading true crime producer in the UK (How I Caught the Killer, Jo Frost on Killer Kids, World’s Most Evil Killers, The Krays: The Prison Years), Woodcut’s  growing catalogue also includes specialist factual series (Wings of War, Combat Machines, Football: A Brief History by Alfie Allen), premium one off docs (The Ivy, Cut From A Different Cloth and Mandela, My Dad and Me featuring Idris Elba) factual entertainment shows (How Hacks Work, Around the World in 80 Tricks, World’s Scariest Hauntings).

About the Anthology Group

The Anthology Group is made up of Anthology Studios and Anthology Advisory.  Anthology Studios is six television and film production companies, a theatre production company and a licensing company, all operating across the UK and internationally. Anthology Advisory is made up of a media investment fund advised by FCA regulated Anthology Advisory Partners and a bespoke media investment advisory business.  The group combines creativity and financial expertise to develop and produce scripted and unscripted, television, film, digital and theatre content. The group was founded by Bob Benton to bridge the gap between creativity and finance. Hilary Strong is Chief Executive Officer of the group. Jeremy Mills is Chairman of Anthology Studios and Carolyn Bennett is Chair of the group parent Anthology Media.

About The Development Partnership 
The Development Partnership (TDP) is the development and production arm of talent agency The Artists Partnership. Founded in 2016 and run by Robert Taylor, its objective is to provide an environment for talent to have a substantial voice in the development and production of projects they are passionate about. It works closely with The Artists Partnership in making these tools available to TAP’s considerable client roster and actively develops and produces feature films, scripted and non-scripted television with them.

For more information, please contact:


Daniel Maynard

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