Monty Python legend Michael Palin visits North Korea

Michael Palin’s experience of everyday life in the communist country will be broadcast in a new documentary

While the world waits for the historic moment between leaders of two belligerent countries meeting to find a peaceful solution to decades of conflict, former Monty Python member, Michael Palin, has decided to offer a different approach towards North Korea.

The famous British comedian and a broadcaster has taken his crew to document the everyday life of the people of the country. The team visited sites and locations that have been rarely explored while “spending time with citizens from all walks of life and witnessing the country’s extraordinary annual May Day celebrations”, a spokesperson for ITN Productions said.

It took the team two years of preparations and many negotiations to settle unprecedented permissions to visit local sites. Palin then travelled 1,300 miles across the country and explored the land in a way that few westerners have ever had a chance. And this time, it was all captured on film.

“To visit North Korea was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. For somewhere that is so often in the forefront of the news, it remains a complete mystery to most of us. That we were able to travel across the country and get some sense of everyday life was enormously exciting,” Palin said.

“The visit was an eye-opener for me, and I’m sure it will be the same for others. In all my travels around the world I have never had the same sense of fascination and revelation as on this journey to North Korea.”

The documentary will be broadcast on Channel 5. The channel’s factual commissioning editor, Guy Davies, commented: “Michael Palin is the best travel presenter of his generation, and for him to make his first series for Channel 5 with such a timely and extraordinary journey is thrilling.

Michael Palin is a British actor and broadcaster. After years in the legendary project of Monty Python, he started to produce travel documentaries — landmarkmedia / Shutterstock Monty Python legend visits North Korea
Michael Palin is a British actor and broadcaster. After years in the legendary project of Monty Python, he started to produce travel documentaries — landmarkmedia / Shutterstock

“His natural curiosity and sensitivity make him the ideal person to visit and discover North Korea, and meet the people who have been hidden from the world for so long.”

Will Smith, head of factual, ITN Productions said: “We are thrilled to be working with Michael Palin on this project which has taken two years to come to fruition.

“Given the constantly shifting political landscape between North Korea and the rest of the world this insight into life for ordinary people in what is often dubbed a ‘hermit kingdom’ could not be more relevant.”