Building Impossible With Daniel Ashville

Daniel Ashville meets with Laurence Savage, the crew site boss for the Msikaba Bridge project. (National Geographic for Disney)

A brand-new engineering show with an edge—and on the edge—features Msikaba Bridge in South Africa Six-part series airs on National Geographic from Tuesday, 12 September 2023.

JOHANNESBURG, 21 August 2023: Get ready for an adrenaline-fuelled journey across the globe as National Geographic brings you a new engineering series like no other. Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville, hosted by the British construction expert himself, is set to premiere on National Geographic (DStv 181 Starsat 220) Tuesdays at 19:00 (CAT) from 12 September 2023, bringing ground-breaking feats of construction on the edge of possibility, including the astounding Msikaba bridge in South Africa.

Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville takes viewers on an exploration of the world’s most extraordinary and precarious builds. This six-episode series pushes the boundaries of what is considered achievable, showcasing architectural marvels that defy imagination. From the construction of the world’s largest ocean-going cruise liner, ‘Icon of the Seas’ in Finland to the ground-breaking Brenner Tunnel beneath the Alps on the Italy-Austria border, each episode highlights the skills, technology, and engineering brilliance that make these awe-inspiring builds possible.

Daniel Ashville slowly and carefully makes his way through the confined space of the South tower pylon to help pour concrete. (National Geographic for Disney)

Developed and produced by Hoff Productions, the series also takes us to Las Vegas to explore the creation of the largest spherical building in the world, the MSG Sphere. In California, Daniel and his team tackle the Intuit Dome, the future home of the LA Clippers. The first episode transports viewers to South Africa, where they witness the construction of the cable-stayed steel deck Msikaba Bridge. Finally, in the conclusion to the series, Daniel travels to Santa Clara, CA, to join the construction team on the Pathfinder 1, the world’s largest aircraft.

At the helm of Building Impossible is TV newcomer Daniel Ashville, a construction expert who has built his own construction empire from scratch. With an infectious enthusiasm for all things construction, Daniel’s magnetic on-screen presence draws viewers into his world of ambition and perseverance. His hands-on approach sees him actively collaborating with teams tackling these engineering challenges, demonstrating that the impossible can indeed become possible.

Daniel Ashville says: “I’ve always believed that in the world of construction, there are no limits to what we can achieve. Building Impossible is a testament to the power of human ingenuity and the relentless pursuit of pushing boundaries. I’m thrilled to take viewers on this journey and demonstrate that with hard work, determination, and a touch of audacity, we can make the impossible possible. Building Impossible is not just about engineering marvels; it’s about the incredible people behind these ground-breaking projects. Their dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to excellence inspire me every day.

Dozens of pre-fabricated rings sit waiting to be installed in the tunnel to reinforce the walls. Each ring is made up of the recycled materials from the drilling process. (National Geographic for Disney)

Daniel Ashville’s journey into the realm of construction began during his childhood, igniting an obsession that led him to abandon his sports science studies at university. This audacious decision proved to be a turning point, as he harnessed his unwavering determination and embarked on a remarkable 17-year journey. From flipping houses to establishing The Ashville Group, comprising Ashville Construction for design and build residential projects, Ashville Aggregates and Concrete for aggregates supply and waste management services, and Ashville Plant Hire for equipment and machinery hire, Daniel has cemented his position as one of the country’s top experts in his field.

In 2020, Daniel Ashville opened the doors to his captivating world through a popular YouTube channel, where he offers an intimate glimpse into his daily life. With posts amassing up to two million views, his magnetic personality and profound knowledge caught the attention of National Geographic commissioners. Recognising Daniel’s fearlessness and genuine passion, they swiftly offered him his own show: Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville.

Executive producers for Hoff Productions are Michael Hoff, Ashley Adams and Sean Boyle. Simon Raikes, Commissioning Editor at National Geographic, says: “Building Impossible with Daniel Ashville is an exceptional series that captures the essence of exploration and innovation that has captured our imagination from the very beginning. This series pushes the boundaries of what’s possible in engineering and showcases the remarkable achievements of human ingenuity.”

Host Daniel Ashville. (National Geographic for Disney)

Episode synopses

Episode 1 – AFRICA’S MEGA BRIDGE

Msikaba Bridge (South Africa)

Prepare for a breath-taking journey to Africa as Daniel lends his expertise to the construction of one of the continent’s longest cable-stayed bridges, spanning the awe-inspiring Msikaba Gorge. Encounter the trials and triumphs alongside the team, including a daring big-rig delivery, navigating tight spaces, and friendly competition. Together, they work tirelessly to erect the colossal pylon towers that will bear the weight of the extraordinary 12,000-ton deck, seamlessly connecting two breath-taking destinations.

Episode 2 – MEGA CRUISE SHIP

Icon of the Seas (Finland)

Prepare to be awe-inspired as Daniel takes you behind the scenes of Royal Caribbean’s monumental project at a Finnish shipyard, where the largest cruise ship in the world is being meticulously crafted. Marvel at the ship’s crowning jewel, the exquisite “Aqua-Dome,” housing an array of captivating bars, world-class restaurants, and mesmerising entertainment venues. Witness a breath-taking engineering feat as immense gantry cranes delicately manoeuvre the heaviest single object ever lifted onto a cruise ship, ensuring its precise placement.

Episode 3 – ALPINE MEGA TUNNEL

Brenner Tunnel (Border between Italy and Austria)

Embark on a thrilling expedition alongside Daniel as he joins forces with teams in Austria and Italy to contribute to the construction of one of the world’s most extensive underground rail connections. Experience the thunderous power of dynamite as Daniel blasts through bedrock in Austria, while in Italy, he takes command of a colossal tunnel boring machine, guiding it with precision as the two countries inch closer to their momentous meeting point.

Episode 4 – LAS VEGAS MEGA SPHERE

MSG Sphere (Las Vegas)

Prepare to be dazzled by the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas as Daniel ventures into the realm of architectural marvels. At Madison Square Garden’s ground-breaking project, a colossal sphere takes centre stage, poised to redefine the boundaries of entertainment. Daniel joins the skilled crew as they meticulously lift and secure massive LED mega-panels onto the sphere’s shimmering exterior. Brace yourself as Daniel fearlessly scales dizzying heights within the sphere to complete his daring tasks.

Episode 5 – LA MEGA STADIUM

Intuit Dome (California)

Immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Los Angeles as Daniel becomes an integral part of the construction team responsible for crafting the roof trusses of the LA Clippers Intuit Dome basketball stadium. Witness the convergence of cutting-edge technologies, awe-inspiring entertainment amenities, and unobstructed views from every angle. However, building this steel dream becomes a monumental challenge as monstrous machines navigate through limited space in a standing-room-only environment.

Episode 6 – MEGA AIRSHIP   

Pathfinder 1 (Santa Clara, CA)

Witness the rebirth of an industry that was forever changed by the tragic Hindenburg crash. Journey with Daniel to Silicon Valley, where a visionary team is resurrecting the airship industry by constructing a colossal airship that may revolutionise air travel as we know it. Join Daniel as he becomes an integral part of the team, preparing to launch the massive 122-meter, 28-ton airship, positioning it as one of the largest airborne vehicles ever created, poised to reshape the skies.

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