From Michael Palin and the team that brought you Around
the World in 80 Days and Pole to Pole comes another
ambitious journey - 50,000 miles of adventure and humour-packed
incident which attempts a complete circle around the world's
largest ocean. Michael sets off in Diomede, in the Bering
Strait, and hopes to return there one year later via Russia,
Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia,
Australia, New Zealand, and the whole length of the Americas.
But right from the start thing don't go to plan...
ever restless ex-Monty Python team member is off on his travels
once again. But right from the start things seem to be against
him and his crew. Just over a week into Palin's travels it
looks like his first main connection maybe missed due to a
late plane which can't make it to his destination because
of heavy fog, and in fact, because that plane is late, he
manages to miss his next important connection between Alaska
we know that he has a small film crew with him, I wonder how
much of the drama that unfolds was real and how much was staged.
For example, Palin talks about the inaccessible, remote land
of Kamchatka, although I wonder how remote it really is as
the next shot cuts to a man-made wooden bridge with a viewing
platform crossing a bubbling river.
are so many interesting episodes and stories that it is difficult
to know where to begin - and how to do it justice.
of the interesting and informative sections include the journey
to Nagasaki. Here Palin visits the remains of the site where
the infamous atomic bomb devastated the surrounding area.
this was broadcast (1998) there were 137,000 US troops still
active in Korea. The Korean War never officially ended, and
a propaganda war is currently ongoing. In
Vietnam the crew get into trouble for filming a cricket match.
Apparently it is seen as a threat to Vietnamese national security
and Palin is asked to stop filming.
viewers might want to look away when Palin visits both a faith
healer and a cock fight whilst in the Philippines. He also
has to kill a wild boar while in Malaysia, as well as watch
a dog being castrated in Australia.
are numerous funny moments in this series. Some of the highlights
include Palin's never ending quest to buy a bath plug in Russia,
his guest appearance on Australian soap Home & Away;
there are plenty of educational trips including a visit to
an orang-utan rehabilitation centre near Borneo, a tea plantation
in Java and a look at a live volcano.
far the most entertaining episode is program six. Here Palin,
now in Australia, gets to travel with the flying vet and manages
to get up close to a crocodile, as well as helping to castrate
a dog (as mentioned previously). He also manages to go camel
rustling - which is a bit like sheep herding, but with a helicopter
and jeeps instead of dogs. He also attends the Desperate and
Dateless Ball, takes part in the world's only cow race, and,
as mentioned earlier, gets to star in an episode of Home
if that wasn't enough excitement, he then goes on to watch
bungee jumping in New Zealand as well as joining some tourists
who are eager to try the latest danger sport - sitting in
a speed boat as the pilot drives at breakneck speed through
some very rough and dangerous looking terrain. And then to
cap it all, this action packed episode seem him spend a night
aboard P&O's Oriana cruise liner - which I particularly
enjoyed as I travelled aboard that vessel on a cruise a few
collection, as with Pole to Pole, has an interview
with Palin (just under 30 mins). Which reveals some interesting
bits of information on the series. It explains why he tends
to interview people who speak English, but his interview seems
to contradicts the footage about gulping down wine fermented
with the aid of saliva, in one village. It was also amusing
to hear that the Japanese fan who Palin had been in touch
with since Holy Grail, and who guided him through Tokyo
in Full Circle, hasn't been in touch with him since
the program was recorded.
was also surprised to learn that two family emergencies -
Palin's wife being diagnosed with a benign brain tumour and
one of his crew's young daughter had fallen out of a first
floor window - had resulted in the crew understandably taking
a break in filming for a few days so they could fly home.
is also almost an hours worth of deleted scenes on the DVD
release. It's a shame that a lot of these never made it to
the final cut, but at least we get to see them now. There
is a very funny Australian hotel scene which was cut - and
the name of the hotel? Fawlty Towers. There is also the scene
where Palin asks for an early morning call while staying on
a cockerel farm - very funny. However there was a slight problem
with the caption to one of the extras. A
surprise meeting with Mr Cheese should
have read "Mr Cleese", but never mind.
is also an extended interview (banter is probably a better
word) with former Monty Python co-star Eric Idol, which
again is worth watching.
fantastic BBC production which you are sure to dig out and
watch again and again.
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