TV favourites Rob Rinder and Rylan Clark are old pals but stark opposites when it comes to cultural taste.

But the duo will put their differences aside for an epic tour around Europe for their new BBC series, in which they follow in the footsteps of the 19th Century romantic poet Lord Byron and other grand tourists of the time.

While TV barrister and former Strictly Come Dancing star Rinder, 45, is a fan of opera and poetry; Clark, from Stanford-le-Hope admits he is more of a newcomer in the world of the arts.

The 35-year-old, who now lives in Brentwood, rose to fame on X-Factor and has starred in shows ranging from This Morning, to Strictly: It Takes Two, to Celebrity Gogglebox.

But they will both immerse themselves in the art, culture and wild behaviour of the ultimate Brits abroad trip, while sharing some tender and personal moments over Aperol spritzes after tumultuous periods in their personal lives.

Echo: Duo - Rob and Rylan are set to tour EuropeDuo - Rob and Rylan are set to tour Europe (Image: BBC / PA)

They begin their journey in Venice, where they try out glassblowing, track down one of the largest paintings on canvas in the world and don drag for a trip down the city’s Grand Canal.

Ahead of the first episode, they sat down to talk to PA about embarking on an adventure together.

Why did you want to do the series?

Rylan Clark: "For money. I’m joking. Definitely not, not at the BBC. Me and Rob have been mates for years, but we’ve never been friends. And we knew that we were the unlikely lads, we were complete opposites.

"But actually, we’ve got a lot of similarities in experiences we’ve been through, especially recently from filming. And it was just an interesting concept of Rob showing me his world and me showing him mine, so the fact that we were both almost thrown in at the deep end, we didn’t really know what the show was gonna be.

"I think a lot of people when the show was announced, were like, 'oh great, another travelogue' but after you’ve watched it, you realise it’s not a travelogue, it’s something that we’ve never really seen before on TV.

“It’s sort of a mixture of the educational side of it, but not in a snobby way, but also the realness of it all, it’s actually quite emotional, and heartfelt and funny, which is quite rare for a lot of shows these days.

Echo: New show - Rylan says the series is 'something we've never really seen before'New show - Rylan says the series is 'something we've never really seen before' (Image: BBC / PA)

Rob Rinder: “I am fascinated, to say the least, and obsessed by art, and by sharing it with the broadest possible groups of communities imaginable. The idea that I can’t stand is that there’s one community that owns great art, great music and trying to explode this dreadful idea that’s increasingly restricting horizons, especially of young people, the idea everybody staying in a lane.

“So I wanted to be part of an arts programme that was absolutely going to empower people to look at art and music and take back the pen of the story that people have written on their behalf and go, as long as I’m culturally curious, I get to write my own story.

“It struck me that this was a really beautiful way of doing it along the lines of the grand tour and in conjunction with the idea of following some of the ideas of Byron, and the reason why he left in order to go and have the completion of an education: aesthetic, spiritual, and intellectual.

Echo: Rylan Clark and Rob RinderRylan Clark and Rob Rinder (Image: PA / BBC)

You both have different approaches to travelling, what did you learn from each other? 

RC: “Rob gave me such like an amazing gift, and I hate bigging him up but I do love him, he has opened my eyes up. I say very openly on the show that I’ve always felt that art’s not my lane, it’s not for me, people like me shouldn’t be moseying around the Uffizi (gallery in Florence).

“But Rob gave me that gift, to understand that art is genuinely for everyone and it is exactly what you make of it. The artist has got their vision, and they make of their own creations what they want, but you, as the admirer of that art, make of it what you want to make of it.

“So something that Rob might look at, and believe is the dawning of a new day, I might look at it as the sunset of an old life, you make of it what you will. And I’ll be forever grateful to Rob, because he’s taken me to places that if I was in Venice, Florence or Rome, I would never have stepped foot in.“

Echo: Dressed up - Rylan and RobDressed up - Rylan and Rob (Image: PA / BBC)

We see you have some quite emotional chats talking about your life experiences, why do you think it's important to show those candid conversations?

RC: “I think it’s really healthy to, like friends, have that conversation. I think people are bored of celebrities and people on TV trying to be like, 'oh, I’m perfect. Everything’s great. Listen to us, we know it’s tough out there, But you hang in there guys'. F*** off!

“We’re real people, we’re normal working class blokes that have done alright in life. You look at Rob and think he’s come from middle England, and he’s like the Dowager Lady Edgar the Third, but he’s not, he comes from a working class family, a cabbie’s son.

“It’s the same with me, we come from working class families and things going wrong. We’ve both been through divorces. We had very different experiences with the divorces, mine wasn’t great, Rob’s wasn’t great, no divorce is great.

“But you know what? We’ve got to find ourselves just as much as the next fella along the road, just because he puts a wig on and he makes out to be a judge every now and again.

“And I sit there doing a bit of karaoke on a Saturday afternoon, doesn’t mean everything’s all roses. We went into this saying we don’t want this to be your travelogue, your glossy entertainment show, we want it to be a real show and this is exactly what we would discuss if me and Rob were sitting in Venice having an Aperol Spritz.“

– Rob and Rylan’s Grand Tour starts on May 12 at 9pm on BBC Two.