Channel 4 60 Days with the Gypsies: Ed Stafford’s life with famous partner to heartbreaking search for birth parents


Any fan of adventure television will be familiar with the name Ed Stafford. The explorer and TV presenter is a familiar face on our screens, known for his appearances on the Discovery Channel and Channel 4. Ed, 46, is a popular face on our screens, and over the years he has amassed a dedicated fan base.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Ed’s whirlwind career has found him in a number of sticky situations over the years. Opening up to the BBC In 2018, the explorer spoke about being held at arrow and gunpoint during his Amazon expedition.

“It’s all well and good being young and taking risks, but the Amazon was reckless. I was largely uninsured and it was dangerous,” he said. “My perspective has changed now I have a family.”

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Ed Stafford married fellow explorer Laura Bingham in 2016

Ed is perhaps most famous for holding the Guinness World Record for being the first human ever to walk the length of the Amazon River. The Amazon expedition took nearly two-and-a-half years.

Aside from this record-breaking stardom, Ed has spoken about his family setup. Ed was born to a single mum who fell pregnant at 15 and had to give him up for adoption. Opening up to the Mirror he said: “I don’t think explorers are peaceful or at one with themselves because if they were they wouldn’t have that urge.

“That chink in their armor is also their strength, but I’d argue it isn’t normal, going away for months at a time when most people have these emotional ties, which are there for a reason. You could escape for the rest of your life, but it doesn’t help. If you look at most explorers there’s something a bit odd about them, something that doesn’t quite fit in with society.

“Whether or not that’s my adoption, I’m not sure, but there’s definitely insecurity there, a fear of something in life makes you want to correct it. So you do something really tangible you can point towards and say: ‘Look, I’ve achieved this – I’ve proved to myself my own capabilities’.”

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Ed was adopted by Barbara and Jeremy Stafford, solicitors who lived in Leicestershire, and he was sent to nearby public school, Uppingham. Very close to his adoptive parents, Ed was reportedly devastated when Jeremy died of lung cancer in 1999.

His sister, Janie Boanson-James, helped him to track down his long-lost family via Facebook and Google Earth. Even now he still can’t believe what they managed to find them: “It turned out my mum Karen and dad Tony, who was 19 when I was born, married nine years later and had two other sons. So I have two full blood brothers aged 25 and 27, which is just amazing.

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“The whole thing has been amazing and I’ve met all of the family now – they’re all lovely people. Of course, it’s not all immediately happy families and my biological mum and dad sadly split up a few years ago.

“But I’ve got a lot of respect for them and we’re slowly rebuilding those relationships again. There had always been this background intrigue. I looked for my birth family, not because I needed new parents in my life, but because it’s just inherent to want to know.”

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Another surprising fact about Ed is that he is married to another familiar face – his wife is the well-known explorer Laura Bingham. The couple have three children together, Ranulph, Mary and Camilla.

Ed Stafford will appear on Channel 4’s 60 Days with the Gypsies at 9pm this evening (February 7)

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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