Race Across The World pair win fans for their unusual approach to BBC contest

The travel race is back and viewers already love retired couple Viv and Stephen

Race Across The World S4,10-04-2024,Generics,Stephen & Viv,Studio Lambert Ltd,Pete Dadds
Race Across The World hopefuls Stephen and Viv. (BBC/Studio Lambert)

What did you miss?

Race Across The World viewers were left in fits after one couple appeared to ignore the contest for a dip in a naked spa.

The BBC competition - which sees teams racing across the globe to win a £20,000 prize – returned on Wednesday night (April 10). This year’s contestants are tasked with making their way from Japan to Lombok, a distance of 15,000km, on around £1400.

But as most of the teams got moving fast, retired couple Stephen, 61, and Viv, 65, were on quite the go slow – leaving fans predicting they'd get to Lombok months after everyone else.

What, how and why?

As the show got under way, teams were seen sweating it out on long bus journeys and eating while they pounded the pavement as they rushed to get to the first checkpoint. But Viv and Stephen were determined to see some sights and were seen enjoying a tasty meal with some locals and stripping off in a nude spa.

Viv took some out for a dip. (BBC screengrab)
Viv took some time out for a dip. (BBC screengrab)

The duo ambled about and enjoyed Japan, seemingly forgeting the show is actually a race.

“This leg we have focused more on the enjoyment side, the leisurely pace, seeing the scenery,” Viv admitted as the first episode drew to a close.

She also shared that they had assumed they’d get to the first checkpoint last, and were surprised when they didn’t. “Big shock,” agreed Stephen.

What did viewers say?

Their relaxed approach to the race tickled viewers, who called the pair “icons” and said they loved the way they were doing it.

“Two teams fighting it out for the checkpoint, meanwhile Steve and Viv have just got out of the hot tub,” one person posted on X, as another wrote: “Oh I love Stephen and Viv.”

“It’s a good job Steve and Viv are retired, they are going to finish at least three months behind everyone else,” said one fan, as another noted that the pair were “living their best life”.

Stephen and Viv took it easy and viewers loved it. (BBC screengrab)
Stephen and Viv took it easy and viewers loved it. (BBC screengrab)

“I predict Steve and Viv will arrive six months after the others,” said someone else, as another viewer remarked: “Make no mistake, Stephen and Viv are having a retirement tour and I L-O-V-E them for it.”

Others said Stephen and Viv seemed to think they were on holiday rather than in a contest. “Stephen and Viv are the epitome of doing 15 minutes work and then rewarding yourself with an hour break,” said one.

Another added: “Steve and Viv will still be in Japan, money spent, when the others have all completed Race Across The World but hell, they’ll have had a lovely time, perhaps they’ve got the right idea!”

What else happened on Race Across The World?

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Alife and Owen lost their map. (BBC/Studio Lambert)

Elsewhere, there was drama for best friends Alfie and Owen, when they lost their map. The pair, who are just 20, misplaced their map early on and bickered about which one of them was to blame.

Mum and daughter Eugenie and Isabel also had problems when they went through a third of their budget in the first leg. One viewer joked: "I fear Eugenie and Isabel have stolen my plan to apply, blow the budget and have an incredible week before heading home."

Read more: Race Across The World

Watch: Watch the trailer for Race Across the World series 4