Michael Palin's Pole to Pole

Watch Michael Palin's Pole to Pole

  • 1992
  • 1 Season

Michael Palin's "Pole to Pole" is a documentary television series that takes viewers on an epic journey from the North Pole to the South Pole. Produced by BBC Worldwide, the show sees Monty Python star Michael Palin travel over 30,000 miles across 17 countries in a quest to experience the diverse cultures and landscapes of the world.

The show is divided into eight episodes, each focusing on a different leg of Palin's journey. Starting in the Arctic, he ventures through Europe, Africa, and eventually arrives at Antarctica, facing unexpected challenges along the way. Throughout the series, Palin showcases his humorous and affable personality, offering viewers an entertaining travelogue that incorporates a range of captivating stories.

In the first episode, Palin sets foot in the snow-covered Arctic, where he encounters reindeers and huskies, and learns about the traditional lifestyle of the Sami people. He later visits Norway and Russia, where he discovers the eccentricities and complexities of everyday life in these regions, including staying with a group of monks in a remote monastery in the Kola Peninsula.

The second and third episodes take Palin to eastern and southern Europe, where he indulges in delectable food, visits ancient sites, and meets colorful characters such as vodka-drinking monks and the owner of the world's largest bust of Lenin. In Turkey, he explores the mesmerizing ancient city of Ephesus, and in Romania, he experiences the local culture, learning Romanian dance and indulging in homemade Romanian cuisine.

In the fourth episode, Palin moves on to the Middle East and Africa to discover the diverse cultures and landscapes of Egypt, Sudan, and Kenya. He encounters pharaonic treasures, ancient tombs, and Nile River barges while in Egypt. In Sudan, he visits a remote refugee camp, where he meets displaced people whose lives have been torn apart by conflict. In Kenya, he spends time in a Maasai village and witnesses breathtaking animal migrations across the Serengeti.

Palin then continues southward, arriving in Zimbabwe, where he experiences the musical stylings of the renowned Thomas Mapfumo before venturing to South Africa. Upon his arrival, he contemplates the horrors of apartheid before meeting his old friend, Nelson Mandela, who at that time had just been released from prison.

The last two episodes follow Palin as he travels through the icy terrain of Antarctica. He participates in a scientific expedition, encountering Weddell seals, penguins, and the stunning scenery of the southernmost continent. In the final episode, Palin reflects on his epic journey, recounting his experiences, and offering viewers some insightful and fun stories.

Overall, Michael Palin's "Pole to Pole" is a fascinating documentary series that showcases the splendor and variety of the world's cultures and landscapes while being framed with humor and insight. It offers a unique perspective on the diversity and richness of the human experience while providing engaging and captivating entertainment.

Michael Palin's Pole to Pole
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Bitter End
8. Bitter End
December 9, 1992
Having made it to the Cape Town Harbor only to discover that were no berths available on the supply ship sailing to the Antarctic, Michael's strategy is in tatters. Will his five-month 23,000 mile journey be rewarded with success or capped with failure?
Evil Shadow
7. Evil Shadow
December 2, 1992
After 108 days on the road, an evil shadow hangs over Michael. That is the diagnosis of Baela, a Zairean witch doctor, practicing in Mpulungu in North Zambia.
Planes and Boats and Trains
6. Planes and Boats and Trains
November 25, 1992
After a rugged bout of hard travelling, Day 97 finds Michael past the Equator, relaxing on the Ernest Hemingway, a traditional tented safari in one of Kenya's top game parks.
Crossing the Line
5. Crossing the Line
November 18, 1992
Michael and team have survived desert and drought. Now, bedraggled and exhausted, the caravan limps on to one of the world's remotest border crossings -Gallabat. They are alarmingly off-course, and late.
Shifting Sands
4. Shifting Sands
November 11, 1992
Michael is heading for the Equator, the mid-point of his epic journey, and now he faces the toughest challenge since the Arctic - the Sudan. Africa's largest country is like no other place on earth.
Mediterranean Maze
3. Mediterranean Maze
November 4, 1992
Day 42 of this epic journey sees Michael Palin and his team landing in Istanbul, their Russian ship leaving Odessa a matter of hours before the port is closed by the Russian generals' coup against Gorbachev.
Russian Steps
2. Russian Steps
October 28, 1992
Michael Palin's epic journey continues with his arrival in a Russia that is still officially the Soviet Union, and in a Leningrad that is not yet St Petersburg.
Cold Start
1. Cold Start
October 21, 1992
Michael Palin and his crew set off on a five month, 23,000 mile land and sea journey from the North to South Pole with everything going wrong.
  • Premiere Date
    October 21, 1992