Described by the BBC’s Mark Thompson as being “Part of the history of television”, Allen is best known for being the first to record his arduous and treacherous exploits without a TV crew. His technique has been to sink into remote communities, placing himself in the hands and at the mercy of these people and their environment, learning to survive from them alone.
By single-handedly capturing his experiences on film he has created groundbreaking, spontaneous and authentic programming. He says "To me exploration isn't about conquering natural obstacles, planting flags... It's not about going where no one's gone before in order to leave your mark, but about the opposite of that - about making yourself vulnerable, opening yourself up to whatever's there and letting the place leave its mark on you."
In 2013 Allen was included in the Daily Telegraph's list of Britain's "Great Explorers" - the only other living adventurer being Sir Ranulph Fiennes.
His presenting work includes the major eight-part reality epic Exhibition on Africa (2009) for the History Channel, Unbreakable (2008) for Channel Five, and Travellers’ Century (2008) for BBC4. His six BBC series include Skeleton Coast, Edge of Blue Heaven and Ice Dogs. Allen presented Adventures for Boys: The Lost World of Ryder Haggard, and was an expert contributor for BBC2’s Extreme Dreams.
Allen is an accomplished author with ten books to his name including The Faber Book of Explorationand Into the Abyss. He has written numerous articles for a wide range of magazines and newspapers, and is a hugely popular corporate motivational speaker. He inspires and invigorates a variety of audiences by skillfully translating his ‘against the odds’ survival for the global corporate ‘jungle’. In 2010 Allen became a trustee and member of council of the Royal Geographical Society.