Himalaya with Michael Palin

North by Northwest

Series 1 - Episode 1 North by Northwest



It was one of the great globetrotter’s less celebrated trips, but Palin’s 2004 journey through and around the mountain range showed his familiar talent for balancing charm and oddness. Ten years later, the series takes on almost the quality of a period piece, given how much the countries involved, particularly Pakistan, have changed in the meantime.

His journey begins in the “Wild West” of Pakistan, near the Afghan border. After chugging up the Khyber Pass on a steam train, he gets to witness the chaotic sport of bull racing. But the characteristic Palin moments are quieter, such as when he teaches a class for some Kalasha children, and clowns with his shoe to get a laugh.


The intrepid traveller embarks on a trip from the Khyber Pass to the Bay of Bengal, an arduous journey through Pakistan's mountains, India, Nepal, China and finally Bangladesh. The adventure begins on the Khyber steam railway, taking in Darra, where he browses for a unique firearm. He then heads toward Chitral to watch a freestyle polo grudge-match take place on the highest polo field in the world.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Michael Palin
Director Roger Mills
Series Producer Roger Mills