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Around the world
November 21, 2011 3:09 AM   Subscribe

Around the World in 80 Days is a BBC television travel series first broadcast in 1989. It was presented by comedian and actor Michael Palin.The show was inspired by Jules Verne's classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days, in which a character named Phileas Fogg accepts a wager to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days or less. Palin was given the same deadline... Here's Episode 1 - The Challenge.

And the rest:
  • Episode 2 - Arabian Frights
  • Episode 3 - Ancient Mariners
  • Episode 4 - A Close Shave
  • Episode 5 - Oriental Express
  • Episode 6 - Far East And Farther East
  • Episode 7 - Dateline To Deadline
  • posted by twoleftfeet (35 comments total) 72 users marked this as a favorite

     
    Don't miss the accompanying book, which you can read on Michael Palin's site for free.
    posted by seanmpuckett at 3:28 AM on November 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


    I loved this show and particularly Michael Palin as the presentor. Great stuff.
    posted by slimepuppy at 3:34 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Yep one of the best travel shows the Beeb ever did.
    posted by GallonOfAlan at 3:34 AM on November 21, 2011


    Also worth noting is the 20-year later follow-up documentary Around The World in 20 Years where Palin seeks out to find the crew of the 'Al Sharma' ship, 20 years after he first met them in 1989.
    posted by metaxa at 3:56 AM on November 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


    I recently listened to the audiobook version of this which made me seek out the video. It's all great. Palin is so warm to everyone and willing to be silly but never seems shallow.
    posted by DU at 4:28 AM on November 21, 2011


    Loved it
    posted by ajbattrick at 4:36 AM on November 21, 2011


    Loved this the first time I saw it. As I'm out travelling now, it feels apt to revisit the series.
    posted by flippant at 4:40 AM on November 21, 2011


    The post-Python work of these alumni is interesting. Terry Jones has a series called Ancient Inventions (Episode 1). John Cleese did a whole show about the Human Face (Beauty). Terry Gilliam has been criticizing Schindler's List, and Eric Idle is still doing Python.
    posted by twoleftfeet at 4:41 AM on November 21, 2011


    The post-Python work of these alumni is interesting.

    And Graham Chapman is still pushing up the daisies.
    posted by three blind mice at 5:01 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    Terry Jones has done more than just that Ancient Inventions thing. I liked "The Story of One" quite a bit, while the Inventions series was mostly fluff.

    And of course you may have seen Cleese's face elsewhere.
    posted by DU at 5:13 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    Long ago, we went around the world with our televisions.

    I sat with my sister on the floor in front of a big black and white TV, watching this broadcast, the first ever live global satellite transmission. It blew our minds, especially this segment. Even as kids, we knew this was a huge turning point, and that the world would never be quite the same again.

    Meanwhile, I really enjoyed Palin's show; thanks for this, it's worth enjoying again.
    posted by kinnakeet at 5:23 AM on November 21, 2011


    This was a favorite in my family growing up. It was appointment television, so fascinating, and Palin such a great example of an easygoing, open-minded world traveler.
    posted by Miko at 5:25 AM on November 21, 2011


    It's interesting contrasting more modern shows with Palin's travel documentaries. The only program I've seen that seems to capture Palin's spirit is McGregor and Boorman's Long Way Round/Down. However engaging other travel shows are, they are much more interested in showing off the place, making the host a sort of presenter to the experience rather than a medium through which the viewer experiences the locale.

    Though An Idiot Abroad attempts the same thing, it's tone is pretty un-Palin. Foreign cultures are a thing afflicted on Pilkington rather that something sought out. No Reservations, for all Bourdain's posturing, is still food porn (but rather than showing off the dish, they show off the experience of the dish) with moments of brilliance like the Beirut episode which came close to Palin. Rick Steves seems to be moving away from the traditional travel tips show into something more political and in depth, but he's still promoting a business (even if said business funds stuff like housing for homeless moms).
    posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:42 AM on November 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


    Palin's experience at a karaoke bar in episode 6, Far East and Farther East, was my first introduction to that, uh, sport.
    posted by octobersurprise at 6:00 AM on November 21, 2011


    Previously also, but that's from 2002 and there are some more recent books on the site to read now.
    posted by curious nu at 6:16 AM on November 21, 2011


    The post-Python work of these alumni is interesting.

    Speaking of which, Baron Munchausen has died.

    No famous last words. Not yet.

    posted by Capt. Renault at 6:27 AM on November 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


    That was near the top of PBS' most brilliant airings during my childhood. Few series managed to convince me to tune into the same (bat)channel at the same (bat)time. This was one of them.
    posted by spamguy at 6:34 AM on November 21, 2011


    I loved this :) Thanks for the timely reminder of an xmas present I want to get; I just posted an AskMe seeking U.S.-centric suggestions for series like Palin's.
    posted by headnsouth at 7:14 AM on November 21, 2011


    I'm not a Python fan, but I do find Palin a very likeable chap - perhaps because he reminds me of a friend of mine.
    posted by mippy at 7:20 AM on November 21, 2011


    The post-Python work of these alumni is interesting. Terry Jones has a series called Ancient Inventions

    Oh god. Ancient Inventions is only three episodes and is worth the entirety of my Netflix subscription for the last 8 months.
    posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:51 AM on November 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


    I've always thought that fans of Palin might like to check out (if you can) Bruce Parry, who has so far visited the Amazon, the Arctic and various indigeonous tribes, all with a great degree of affable charm and pleased good humour. Although there's not much to be said for his reindeer riding skills.
    posted by fight or flight at 7:54 AM on November 21, 2011


    If you want something less, ahem, YouTubey, his three more recent series are available for instant streaming on Netflix. If you're going to watch one, go first for the beautifully filmed Himalaya. There's also Sahara and the quirky New Europe. Unfortunately, his earlier shows are only available on DVD: Around the world in 80 days and the follow-up Pole to Pole.
    posted by rh at 8:20 AM on November 21, 2011


    This series put me in a quandry, because the last episode or two aired at the exact same time as the first few episodes of a new series I liked, called The Simpsons. I couldn't bear to miss either. So I persuaded a friend of mine to record the cartoon show on his VHS recorder for me, provided I gave him a tape to use. He didn't have cable, so I asked him to be sure the rotating antenna on top of his house was best aligned to catch the UHF signal.

    Every single fact in that previous paragraph makes me feel old.
    posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 8:29 AM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


    I don't know Ancient Inventions but I tried Terry Jones' Crusades series a few years ago, and found it just dire. It's highly rated on IMDB so YMMV. Also up on YT.
    posted by stinkycheese at 8:30 AM on November 21, 2011


    This series put me in a quandry, because the last episode or two aired at the exact same time as the first few episodes of a new series I liked, called The Simpsons. I couldn't bear to miss either. So I persuaded a friend of mine to record the cartoon show on his VHS recorder for me, provided I gave him a tape to use. He didn't have cable, so I asked him to be sure the rotating antenna on top of his house was best aligned to catch the UHF signal.

    Every single fact in that previous paragraph makes me feel old.


    If it's any help, I did just that in, uhhh, 1997. 80's television took its time to come to India. :(
    posted by the cydonian at 9:10 AM on November 21, 2011


    Palin is seriously one of the best exports Britain could ever hope for. When he talks to you, he talks to you, which goes a long way in explaining how he's able to go anywhere on earth. He's truly interested in the world around him and in the people he comes into contact with.

    I have all these programmes on DVD. Long may he travel (if that's what he wants). I subscribe to his occasional mass emails, and it's adorable how he goes on about playing with his grandson Archie.
    posted by droplet at 10:17 AM on November 21, 2011


    I watched Pole to Pole with my sisters when it was first on PBS. LOVED that show. Watched it again on DVD a while ago, and was startled to realize that he was traveling through Russia right as things were coming apart for the USSR, including an attempted coup IIRC.
    posted by epersonae at 10:53 AM on November 21, 2011


    And Graham Chapman is still pushing up the daisies.

    "He's kicked the bucket, hopped the twig, bit the dust, snuffed it, breathed his last, and gone to meet the great Head of Light Entertainment in the sky."
    posted by kirkaracha at 11:08 AM on November 21, 2011


    Oops, my previous links all require you to be signed in to Netflix. Here's a slightly better link to Himalaya for those without accounts. If you've got an account and are signed in, they should all work.
    posted by rh at 11:21 AM on November 21, 2011


    kirkaracha - I'm glad you linked that, because if you hadn't, I was going to. That's how to do a eulogy.

    Michael Palin and Terry Jones one got changed next to me at my squash club. They seemed very affable and jolly. This was a good while back, mind. They might be utter bastards by now. I know I am.
    posted by Decani at 11:38 AM on November 21, 2011


    ONCE, dammit.
    posted by Decani at 11:39 AM on November 21, 2011


    Quote from skeptical Slavic co-worker: "An Englishman travels the world... and complains about the food."
    posted by ovvl at 5:07 PM on November 21, 2011


    On the follow up series, Pole to Pole, Palin was on top of a train running through the Sudan. He got chatting with a student up there (I paraphrase):

    "Student X was surprised we don't travel on the roofs of trains in England. I explained to him about bridges."

    I don't know why that makes me laugh so much but it sticks in my head nearly 20 years later.

    I once shared the same monorail carriage with Mr Palin from Gatwick North to the main terminal around 6am after a bleary eyed flight from the US. He looked even more shattered than I felt so I let him be, instead of spouting my adoration.
    posted by NailsTheCat at 8:48 PM on November 21, 2011


    I absolutely love this series! BUT, the bit in the chinese restaurant that specializes in snake is one of the most horrifying things I've ever seen. I still see those wriggling, pink nightmares when I close my eyes sometimes and it's been years!
    posted by GalaxieFiveHundred at 12:19 AM on November 22, 2011


    I've watched 5 episodes now and the show works as a great reminder of how much and how little the world has changed in 20 years. Talking about Hong Kong as a separate country, the concern over 1997 and the student protests around the corner work along with the complete black hole that is Saudi Arabia.

    Also, the entire lack of mobile phones and the Internet has changed the face of travel. I also imagine that land/water travel has only become more difficult over the years.

    Thanks again for the post!
    posted by slimepuppy at 1:44 PM on November 22, 2011


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