Michael Palin: Around the World in 80 Days (1989) 2 x DVD9 + DVD5
The intrepid and utterly charming Michael Palin races the imaginary Phileas Fogg in a quest to circumnavigate the world in 80 days without the use of airlines. Why? To see if it could be done!

Created in 1988, this was the beginning of a peripatetic odyssey for Palin, who later regaled us with such delights as Pole To Pole and Sahara, among others. Inspired by Jules Verne's literary creation, he set off from London on the romantic Orient Express, although even in that secure beginning in the lap of luxury, things did not go as planned. From a start point of train delays and premature terminations, Palin endured heat, culture shock, language barriers, impossible bureaucracies and stomach bugs; and continued to the end tackling logistics nightmares of missed ships and unrealistic time schedules.

In spite of every trial and horror suffered, Palin managed to maintain a gentle and self-deprecating humour that expressed a genuine sense of curiosity about the people and places he encountered. From that perspective, he is the exemplary traveller - interested, involved and with a spirit of wonder and fun.

2 x DVD9 + DVD5 | PAL 4:3 | 343 minutes | 7.78 Gb + 7.65 Gb + 3.99 Gb + 3% rec
Language: English
Subtitles: English
Genre: Documentary

Directors: Roger Mills, Clem Vallance
Cast: Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Basil Pao
Country: UK

Around The World In 80 Days is presented on 3 discs with 7 episodes and a recent interview with Palin himself. This initially caused some confusion, as the back blurb discusses only 6 episodes. All is made clear in the interview where he reveals that the editor (quite rightly) insisted that the journey across the Persian Gulf with an enchanting Indian crew deserved much fuller coverage, and the series consequently ran to the 7th episode. The more languorous pace of that particular episode really adds a sense of time and space to the series and it was clearly a wise move on the part of the BBC.

One comes to expect a certain standard of story telling from the BBC, and they have certainly delivered again. Palin's collective "Passepartout" (his film crew) have excelled in garnering exquisite images and vignettes of daily life in lands as exotic and varied as Cairo, Bombay, Japan and China, and have rendered the more familiar images of Europe and America with a delicate eye for a good picture. Some of those pictures were of a somewhat stark nature, which gave a much more authentic travel experience to the viewer, and anyone of a squeamish persuasion may like to be warned about the vision of snake restaurants in China for example - not exactly for the faint-hearted!

The content of the discs is:

• Outward Bound (London, Europe)
• Arabian Frights (Egypt, Saudi Arabia)
• Ancient Mariners (Dubai, Persian Gulf)

• A Close Shave (India, Singapore)
• Oriental Express (Hong Kong, China)
• Far East & Farther East (China, Japan)

• Dateline to Deadline (USA, London)
• Interview With Michael Palin (18:35 minutes long)
• Weblink to Palin's Travels - a rather engaging site with personal letters from the man himself, e-cards of his journeys and plenty of interactive material.

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