Premieres October 1, 2012
Mondays at 8:00 PM ET/PT October 1 through November 12
A Universal Sports Network original series in association with Encompass Films.
Take a Seat: Egypt (7 x 30 minutes) is a documentary series that follows British adventurer and independent filmmaker Dominic Gill, 32, as he explores the country of Egypt on a tandem bicycle during a pivotal time in the nation: the Egyptian Revolution. begins his journey in June 2011 in Tahrir Square in Cairo with nothing more than a Co-Motion tandem, survival gear, camera equipment, and a dream to explore. On his 2,500-mile bicycle journey in temperatures upwards of 130 degrees, Dominic is joined by seven young Egyptians who chose to “take a seat” and go for a ride. In this no doors, no windows environment, his companions openly share their personal stories and reveal many facets of this ancient and changing country.
Episode 1 – Premieres Monday October 1st at 8:00pm ET/PT
British adventurer and filmmaker Dominic Gill sets the scene for the Take A Seat: Egypt journey; The Egyptian Revolution. Dominic arrives in Cairo in good spirits hoping to find a companion to take a seat with him on the first leg of the cycling journey, but ends up leaving on his tandem bike alone. After four days of pedaling solo, he arrives in Alexandria and meets his first companion Ayman Shabrawy. Ayman, 25, is a graphic designer and photographer who represents the majority of young Egyptians who went out to the front lines of the protest. They cycle together for three days before the trepidation of cycling into the Sahara Desert takes over.
Episode 2 – Premieres Monday October 8th at 8:00pm ET/PT
The Sahara Desert is harsh as Dominic Gill and Ayman Shabrawy suffer temperatures up to 130 degrees and Ayman’s knee starts to buckle under the pressure of constant cycling. Eventually, the two are refreshed when they make it to Siwa, a desert oasis. Ayman wishes he could continue to take a seat, but ends his journey in the Siwa Oasis in order to return to Tahrir Square to support the revolution. Meanwhile, a companionless Dominic cycles off into the desert alone. Military restrictions near Libya force him to pack up his bike and venture onward toward the Bahariya Oasis in the camera vehicle.
Episode 3 – Premieres Monday October 15th at 8:00pm ET/PT
In the Bahariya Oasis, Dominic Gill finds another unlikely companion in Ossam El Deeb, who cycles with Dominic through part of the hottest landscape from Bahariya to to Farafra Oasis. While cycling through the White Desert, Ossam reveals that he nearly died there when he was 8-years-old. The son of an off-road tour operator, Ossam became a local hero when he walked over 70 miles in seek of help for his tour group whose van had broken down in this very same desert. Once Dominic and Ossam reach the Farafra Oasis they part ways for now, and Dominic is joined by Mohammed Tarek, or “Tarek”, a journalist from Cairo who wants to experience the adventure in his countryside after participating in and being arrested for protesting in the revolution. Twenty-four hours after taking a seat on the desert journey, Tarek succumbs to the heat and has to ride in the camera vehicle. Dominic pedals on alone coming dangerously close to collapse and dehydration in the unbearable heat. They both recover and continue on to the Dakhla Oasis where Tarek departs to return to the revolution’s frontlines in Cairo.
Episode 4 – Premieres Monday October 22nd at 8:00pm ET/PT
Ossam El Deeb, the desert veteran, rejoins Dominic Gill to take a seat from Dakhla to Luxor. After suffering stomach trouble, fighting headwinds and being forced to cycle at night to avoid the heat, the pair arrives on the banks of the river Nile in Luxor. They take a well-deserved break to explore the river and its ancient ruins. Ossam leaves Dominic for the second and last time. Dominic cycles on alone down the Nile to Aswan the furthest point south on the journey where he runs into a local revolution related protest and road block in a small village. Dominic meets his next companion in Al Madiq.
Episode 5 – Premieres Monday October 29th at 8:00pm ET/PT
Dominic Gill is joined by Mohsin Magdi a curious companion looking to get back to his hometown of Aswan. He had not ridden a bike in years but thought it would be a fun experience to cycle the day’s journey home with Dominic. Once in Aswan, Dominic decides to experience the Nile properly so he retires his bike and climbs aboard a felucca (a traditional wooden boat) sailing it along the Nile back to Luxor. Dominic’s next companion found him on Facebook and was ready to pedal. Ahmed Gamal, a jokester and self proclaimed “cyclist” takes a seat from Luxor to the Red Sea in Dahab. Ahmed a self-professed former member of the Muslim brotherhood admits he left the group because it was difficult to reconcile his desires for forbidden things with his desires to follow the righteous Muslim path. Along the way, Ahmed gains strength from his Muslim roots by praying on the roadside and talks of his personal experiences in Tahrir Square at the very heart of the revolution. After a windy boat crossing across the Red Sea, the duo arrive in the Promised Land, the Sinai Peninsula.
Episode 6 – Premieres Monday November 5th at 8:00pm ET/PT
Taking a seat on the tandem in Dahab is John Manoly, a wiry Coptic Christian from Alexandria with real cycling experience and his own spandex. Christians are the religious minority group in Egypt and John was the perfect companion at the perfect time, since he was one of the few able to participate during the Muslim holy holiday of Ramadan, observed by a month-long fast. John helps Dominic Gill climb the steep hills of Egypt’s only mountain range as they cycled from Dahab to the ancient and religiously significant St. Catherine’s Monastery in Mount Sinai. Aided by a camel, the two climb the mountain and reflect on the journey as its end approaches. Then they continue on to Suez.
Episode 7 – Premieres Monday November 12th at 8:00pm ET/PT
In Suez, John Manoly says goodbye to Dominic Gill and trades places with Take A Seat: Egypt’s only female companion, Jasmine El Defrawy. Jasmine is a contemporary woman challenging the traditional Middle-Eastern female role by accepting this physical challenge going against her family’s beliefs and concerns. Jasmine battles through the heat and recounts her own experiences during the revolution. The journey ends where it started in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Here Dominic reflects on Egypt’s uncertain future and is able to return home feeling relieved, grateful and empowered by the strength and tenacity of Egypt’s youth.