Michael Palin Around the World in 80 Days
Celebrating the 25-year anniversary of the most iconic travel programme of all time, Travel Channel proudly showcases Michael Palin's legendary Around the World in 80 Days. Taking on the famous challenge to circumnavigate the globe in less than 80 days, Michael follows in the footsteps of Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne's fictional hero, using the same routes and transport wherever possible, with the use of any air travel strictly forbidden. However, as the modern world of accessible and affordable air travel has all but destroyed the scheduled passenger steamer and decimated the global rail links, Michael struggles to stay on schedule. Gradually Michael realises that, despite being denied the convenience of international air travel, forging his way ahead using almost outdated modes of transport brings him closer to the people who ferry him along the way than he could ever have imagined. Around the World in 80 Days changed the very fabric of travel programming so grab the chance to revisit a bone fide classic of its genre.
No. of Episodes: 7
Michael Palin attempts travelling around the world in 80 days. After setting off from London, he boards the Orient Express, while reminiscing on his rigorous preparations for his upcoming circumnavigation. After taking a ferry across the English Channel, Palin crosses the Alps by train before being stopped in Innsbruck due to an Italian railway strike. Arriving in Venice by coach, he helps the local sanitation department clean up the city, before travelling through the Corinth Canal to Athens, where he sees the world-renowned evzones. After a brief stopover in Crete, Alexandria beckons.
Michael Palin arrives in Alexandria, Egypt and has difficulty getting a train to Cairo. Later, after seeing the Pyramids in Giza and riding a camel named Michael, Palin runs into difficulties when the ship he was supposed to board has engine problems and cannot sail. As a last-ditch effort to save the journey, Palin and the director are permitted by the Saudi authorities to drive across Saudi Arabia to Dubai, with the rest of the crew making the journey by air.
Michael Palin recounts his trip from Jeddah to Dubai via Riyadh, and notes that he drove the distance from London to the Black Sea in one weekend. In Dubai, the team finds a dhow named the Al-Shama to take them to Bombay. Along the way, Palin bonds with the dhow's crew who were an extended family from the Indian state of Gujarat, letting the oldest one listen to a Bruce Springsteen song on his Walkman, and developing a bad case of diarrhoea, resulting in many trips to the ship's unique open-air latrine.
In Bombay, Michael Palin finds himself a week behind Phileas Fogg. After getting a quick shave from a blind barber under a tree and seeing a snake charmer's cobra, he is able to get a train ticket to Madras in south-eastern India. In Madras, he has difficulty finding a connecting boat to Singapore. Eventually Palin sets off on a Yugoslavian freighter, eleven days behind. Arriving in Singapore, Palin worries whether or not his connecting boat from Singapore has sailed. If it had, it would have been impossible to complete the journey in eighty days.
Michael Palin finds that the ship had indeed sailed from Singapore. However, quite fortunately, it was only four miles from shore and Palin was able to make it on board using a fast motorboat. While in Hong Kong, he wins big betting on a horse race, is attacked by a cockatoo and attends a party thrown in his honour at the halfway point in the journey. Then it is on to Guangzhou for a dinner of shredded cobra and then a train to Shanghai. He also collects the roofing tile requested by Terry Gilliam from a very old railway station.
In Shanghai, Michael Palin gets some herbal remedies to help him on the rest of his trip. The next day, Palin takes a Chinese ferry to Yokohama, where he rides the world-famous shinkansen train to Tokyo. After spending the night in a capsule hotel, he boards a container ship to cross the Pacific Ocean. The journey takes eleven days and is very dull, enlivened only by a game of pass the parcel with the Singaporean crew, and the crossing of the International Date Line.
Arriving in Long Beach, California only two days behind Fogg, Michael Palin spends his first night in America aboard the permanently berthed Queen Mary. After a few days, he boards Amtrak's Desert Wind in Los Angeles, travels to the Rocky Mountains and takes a hot-air balloon ride and a dog sled trip in Aspen, Colorado. Eventually arriving in New York, he boards the final ship of his journey dead even with Phileas Fogg on day 71. This container ship takes eight days to cross the Atlantic Ocean, and Palin arrives in Felixstowe, touching Great Britain for the first time in two and a half months. A few train connections later he arrives at his starting point in London.
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