TV fans take a tour of Breaking Bad’s home town, Albuquerque

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad. Picture: Doug Hyun/AMC

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) - Breaking Bad. Picture: Doug Hyun/AMC - Credit: Channel 5

Breaking Bad fans, Roger Hermiston and Eileen Wise, were touring New Mexico when they stopped off in the show’s home town of Albuquerque for a special tour of the programme’s top locations.

‘Good morning Mr Roger and Miss Eileen, this is Heisenberg – are you ready to go and do some cooking’?

A familiar figure in a smart jacket, dark glasses and porkpie hat led us to his 4 by 4 and we were ready for an ‘awesome’ (as Jessie might say) trip around Albuquerque into the strange environs of ‘Breaking Bad’, a world of apparent middle-class respectability undercut with a dark underworld of drug-dealing, money-laundering, kidnapping and murder.

Briefly, in case there is someone on the planet who doesn’t know, Breaking Bad is one of the great television drama series of all time (up there with Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy), the unlikely partnership between middle-aged chemistry teacher Walter White and youthful drug dealer Jesse Pinkman, whose quest is to manufacture enough crystal meth to bring in enough money to support Walt’s family when he dies from inoperable cancer.

An unlikely plot, but a drama series suffused with so much crackling dialogue, wit, tension and menace – fronted by a partnership to rival Holmes and Watson. A shop owner in ABQ’s Old Town, doing a good trade in BB t-shirts, put her finger on it as effectively as anyone: ‘It’s the age-old morality tale – it’s good and evil. It’s really just Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde revisited’.

Dr Jekyll, aka Walter White, aka his alter ego Heisenberg, aka our genial and knowledgeable host Luigi, whisked us away on a 17-stop tour of Walt and Jessie’s haunts. Luigi is not the only one ploughing this furrow; there is another Breaking Bad RV Tour, where you can join six or seven others in the sort of vehicle in which the duo cooked up their meth. But Luigi’s personalised tour is as good as any to get the feel of all the places where the series was filmed.

The most requested location is Walt and Skyler’s house at 3828 Piermont Drive. Luigi – fortunately – has established an amicable relationship with the current owner, because she is heartily fed up of the constant attention she gets from BB aficionados around the world, day in, day out. Fortunately she was driving away as we arrived, so we were able to linger awhile. Luigi told us she could have sold the house for five times its current market value.

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We stopped by the gaudy Dog House stall where Jessie bought a gun: lunched at Twisters diner, sitting at the table where Walt had his first encounter with the menacing Gus: lingered at the parking lot where Jessie kept his RV – and fell into the portakabin: wandered by the office of their sleazy lawyer Saul – now a restaurant called ‘Simon’s Saints’: loitered in the giant car wash where Walt and (unwittingly) his wife Skyler laundered the drug money: and, poignantly, stood by the dam where Jesse and Walt bade their farewells.

‘You know the business, and I know the chemistry. I’m thinking, maybe you and I could partner up?’ Luigi reminded us of this and many other great quotes in a tour-de-force of storytelling. And, as a parting momento, he presented us with the pink, scorched teddy bear that appears in the opening sequences in Season Two, floating in Walt’s swimming pool. ‘An exclusive gift for my great friends from England’, he told us. I was pretty sure, after studying E-Bay, that it was another of Luigi’s great stories. But we appreciated the gesture nonetheless!

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