Lonely Planet readers in the UK recently voted Michael Palin the person that they’d most like as their travel companion. Who wouldn’t want to travel with someone so amusing and intelligent, who always seems to have a real desire to find out more about the countries he travels through? I’ve been watching Around the World in 80 Days, his first series from the late 1980s, again recently which must be my favourite, closely followed by Full Circle and Himalaya.
Which is why the last major series he was involved in was such a disappointment. New Europe (2007) seemed more a series of talking heads lined up by the production team for him to meet, and only seldom did he really seem to engage with the people he encountered. Interviews after the series only served to illustrate how tired he was with it all.
Two years ago he revisited the crew of the dhow who made his crossing of the Indian Ocean in 80 Days so memorable and this seems to have reawakened the desire to make another series. According to his website, Palin is in talks to make a three-part series on Brazil for the BBC next year. I can’t wait to see what he makes of it, and really hope this comes off. Simon Reeve aside, there’s a lack of decent travel programmes on TV here at the moment, and it would be great to have him back.