FOR HIS stag night in 1985, Tommy Boyd went one step further than a strippergram. He flew to Rio. "I had some air miles owing from a company that had gone bust," he says, "which I had to use, so I flew myself and my best man, Phil, to Rio. But he got laid before we got there.

"Our flight was delayed and we were put up at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne. On the way there, Phil chatted up one of the air hostesses, and I didn't see him for dust that night. He was late getting on the plane, too." But things soon settled into a nice, respectable stag holiday after that.

"When we got there Phil met another woman," Boyd rants. "In Brazil, 90 per cent of the women will sleep with you for money. We were at this club and Phil walked over with a fantastic girl on his arm and asked me to translate. It turned out that she was a woman of the night, but found him so attractive that she would sleep with him free. Phil was ecstatic.

"I didn't see him for five days and five nights, except when he emerged to get mugged - four times in all. He insisted on wearing these expensive Paul Smith shirts when everyone else wore jeans and greasy T-shirts. And he carried his money on him [I kept mine in my sock] which wasn't very wise.

"But I didn't really like Rio. It's a city that's lost its soul."

One stamp in his passport Tommy Boyd won't forget is an Ethiopian one. "We were filming for a famine relief project in the north of Ethiopia, but the government decided to fly us out of the country via Addis Ababa because the Tigrean revolution was hotting up.

"Our makeshift airstrip, a meadow, was lined by dozens of Soviet tanks. 'Take a photo or start filming, and they'll shoot the plane down,' was the advice.

It's not surprising that Tommy, who's well known for his controversial radio chat shows, was won over by the loquacious Americans. "The US is one place I'd really love to revisit. It is heaven on earth. And the American people have balls, spunk and fire in their belly. They're curious, they talk, they are animated by life.

Tommy Boyd hosts a "fiercely original look" at news and current affairs on Talk Radio 1053/1089 AM, 2pm-4pm Mondays to Fridays