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