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Monday, May 21 2018

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  Michael Palin

Michael Palin has said he has never had the same sense of fascination during his extensive travels as during his most recent trip to North Korea.

The presenter has recently returned from filming a new documentary series in the country for Channel 5.

Following two years of extensive negotiations and planning Palin, 75, and his film crew were granted access to showcase the everyday lives of people in the secretive country.

Palin was in North Korea when the historic meeting between its leader Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In took place at the military demarcation line between the two countries in April.

He has journeyed across continents, deserts, oceans and mountain ranges for his many television travel shows, the last of which saw him trek across Brazil in  2012.

However, he said his trip to North Korea was the most revealing experience he has undertaken yet.

Palin said: “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.

“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 former Monty Python comedian travelled more than 1,300 miles across North Korea while filming the series.

During his explorations he visited the country’s capital Pyongyang and Mount Paektu, an active volcano on the border with China.

ITN Productions head of factual Will Smith 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.”

More Victoria

Actors Laurence Fox and Kate Fleetwood are to join the cast for the third series of historical drama Victoria.

ITV has confirmed that filming has begun for the recommissioned programme, which chronicles the reign of Queen Victoria and her marriage to Prince Albert.

The new eight-part series will begin in 1848, during a time of uncertainty for the monarchy.

Victoria is under pressure from the government to leave London for her own safety as the Chartist movement reaches its peak.

Doctor Who star Jenna Coleman will reprise her role as the young Queen Victoria alongside Tom Hughes as Prince Albert.

Laurence, who appeared in Inspector Morse spin-off Lewis from 2006 to 2015, has been confirmed to play Foreign Secretary Lord Palmerston.

Tony and Olivier Award nominee Kate will play Victoria’s sister Feodora, who will make an unexpected return to the Queen’s life.

Comedian John Sessions will feature as Prime Minister John Russell and Kingsman star Lily Travers will play the Duchess of Monmouth.

Speaking about the programme’s next instalment, creator Daisy Goodwin said: “Victoria and Albert are the most famous couple of the 19th century but, underneath the united facade, their relationship is at breaking point and it is a struggle for mastery that neither side can win.”

The first series of Victoria drew ITV’s highest ratings for a drama in 2016 and the second attracted a consolidated average of 6.4 million viewers.

The programme has also been aired in the US on the PBS network, where it reached an average audience of 5.2 million viewers.

ITV Studios Global Entertainment has sold Victoria to a total of 189 countries worldwide.



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