It’s official; this actor wants to get ‘real’ for a change!

Cal MacAninch has been a familiar face on British television for thirty years, with shows ranging from Downton Abbey and Mr Selfridge to, more recently, Time, Vigil and Trigger Point. Having spent a lifetime pretending to do things, he is now taking up the challenge to row the Atlantic (that’s right, no stuntmen). It’s all getting a bit ‘real’. In saying that, he has run the Ben Nevis race, 3 marathons and has climbed the Old Man of Hoy, but this is by far his greatest challenge. What’s the worst that could happen?!

And who better to face this challenge with than four friends and comrades from the same coastal rowing club. Men he’s come to know and trust over the last five years. All of them experienced, talented, resilient and committed crewmates: Sean’s building his own house; Matt’s a joiner (and already built a house); Ed’s a site manager (and spent two years restoring a house); and Alec is an impact investor (and once put a shed together!). Along with Cal, they all live in Portobello, Edinburgh.

They all train with and compete for Eastern Amateur Coastal Rowing Club, (Eastern) – a club with membership spanning teenagers to folk in their 70s. Eastern is all about support, development, a learning ethos, collective responsibility, and trust in each other – balancing competitive team sport with adventure! Values which will definitely be brought to the challenge of crossing the Atlantic ocean.

The team have chosen to support the charity Body & Soul in this epic adventure: a frontline charity that provides practical and therapeutic support for people of all ages who have experienced grave trauma in childhood.


But for what exactly?

For over 25 years, Body & Soul has nurtured a healing community of peers and professionals, all working together to help 1000s of children and families overcome the worst forms of trauma and adversity, including 100s of young people each year who are struggling with suicidality because of isolation, sexual abuse, racism, poverty and neglect. The charity’s ethos and success stems from the power of connection, from reaching out with authentic love, kindness and curiosity to create genuinely safe and vibrant spaces where people can access a range of targeted, specialist interventions – e.g. psychotherapy, legal support and an exciting programme of group activities using music, art and movement to bring repair through empowerment.


With so many people’s mental health battered by the raging storm of this pandemic, and so much wider attention on discord and difference, it’s fitting that Body & Soul exists to build connection and find common ground. Building resilience and a sense of togetherness are going to be the very qualities that the Body & Soul crew will need on their voyage.


Never give up.

Cal, Alec, Matt, Ed and Sean – Team Atlantic Body & Soul