The Mekong River with Sue Perkins

The Mekong River with Sue Perkins

Series 1 - Episode 1

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Review

The irrepressible Sue Perkins wonders why she’s been asked to make a four-part series about the Mekong River: “I guess Michael Palin was busy.”

It’s a self-deprecating remark, of course, but Perkins should hold her head high – she’s a terrific guide and presenter. Wise, thoughtful, kind, funny and full of questions. Just like Michael Palin.

Throughout her trip she’s welcomed by families eking a living in the rice fields or fishing in the river. Everyone is delightful and hospitable, and they don’t hesitate to poke gentle fun at their visitor.

Perkins starts her journey helping a lady serve bowls of noodles at dawn in Vietnam in what she describes as a “gastronomic flotilla”. But in Cambodia she enters the heart of darkness, visiting Pol Pot’s Killing Fields, and talks to an elderly gentleman brutalised by the murderous insanity of the dictator’s Year Zero ideology.

Summary

The comedienne and Great British Bake Off presenter embarks on a 3,000-mile journey along the Southeast Asian river, exploring lives and landscapes on the point of dramatic change. She begins in Vietnam, where she meets traditional river people caught up in a new capitalist revolution, before trying her hand as a noodle saleswoman and prawn farmer. Continuing to Cambodia, she is moved by the tale of a survivor of Pol Pot's genocide, before bonding with the residents of a floating village whose survival depends on the bounty of Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Asia.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Sue Perkins
Director Steve Robinson
Executive Producer Lucy Carter
Series Producer Steve Robinson
Documentary Lifestyle