“I’m prone to the dramatic as it is, but I didn’t want to grab Howard in a bear hug. So I grabbed his collar, like you would with a child. To my discredit, I was also thinking that I SHOULD BE FILMING THIS!”

Primrose Hill journalist and broadcaster Adam Shaw was aloft in a helicopter over the Arizona-Mexico border with his cameraman, plus the local sheriff, an ageing rockstar-style pilot and multi-billionaire philanthropist Howard Buffett, son of American investment-whizz Warren Buffett. Their purpose was the investigation of Mexican drug-runners for a Horizon documentary.

The cameraman was filming out of the open door on one side of the helicopter, secured in his seat by gaffer tape by the pilot because his seatbelt wasn’t working. Then the door on the other side, next to Howard, flew open.

With the pilot looking back over his shoulder shouting urgent instructions, the helicopter veered off course and drifted across the border into Mexican air, which alarmed everyone as there was the real possibility of being fired at from the ground by the drug cartels. All the while, Adam was clinging on to Buffett for dear life.

Safely back on the ground Buffett was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude, calling Shaw his brother and announcing that they must have been separated at birth.

But what on earth had the Primrose Hill journalist and the billionaire philanthropist been up to?

Buffett was providing the keynote interview for a Shaw’s programme on the future of global food security, which happens to be of major interest to the Buffett Foundation. With the express intention of giving away philanthropically the many Buffett Billions, Howard carries out serious experiments on small-scale farming methods from his vast Arizona ranch, hoping to be able to find the best food-production methods for countries currently less developed. Also of interest to Buffett was the effect of the activities of drug cartels, hence the trip in the helicopter.

The series starts in April and will be shown on BBC World News. The BBC estimates viewing figures of a staggering 90 million.


© 2015 Joanna Reeves, all rights reserved.
Photography © 2015 Adam Shaw

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