Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime

Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime

Series 1 - Episode 3



It’s said that sequels can never be equals. But no one could accuse of Michael Palin of not going bigger and bolder in the trips that followed his original beloved Around the World in 80 Days challenge. His third expedition, 1997’s Full Circle, feels like a turning point for him as a presenter. Gone is the whimsy and, in its place, a new-found sense of responsibility to report the seriousness of what he’s witnessing, be it the history of the Russian gulags or the brutal street crime in Bogota.

For this series, Palin was also away from his family for virtually a full year, with that sense of separation feeling starkest when he discovered, while in Kuching, that his wife Helen had been diagnosed with a benign brain tumour back in London. Twenty-three years on, he reveals how close he came to abandoning filming.


Michael Palin recalls the making of his third travel series Full Circle, a journey around the Pacific Rim which took him to Russia, China, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand and North and South America. This series saw Michael adopting a more investigative role than in previous odysseys, particularly when encountering the drug wars and poverty that plagued Colombia. With contributions from David Attenborough and Joanna Lumley.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Michael Palin
Contributor Joanna Lumley
Contributor David Attenborough
Executive Producer Iain Scollay
Series Producer Andrew Abbott