As uncertainty dogs an unprecedented upcoming summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, Michael Palin travels the length and breadth of the hermetic Asian nation in a new travel series for Viacom’s U.K. network Channel 5.
The former Monty Python star, seen recently in “The Death of Stalin,” was on the ground in North Korea when Kim met his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-In. The series captured the reactions of ordinary people as news of the meeting filtered through the country. Channel 5 said Palin also visits “sites and locations rarely, if ever, explored” in North Korea, and takes in the country’s May Day celebrations. The series, “Michael Palin in North Korea,” took two years to plan.
The trip to the secretive country comes as it continues to make headlines globally, largely because of concerns about its nuclear program and military capabilities. The North Koreans and U.S. have traded barbs even as their leaders are set to meet June 12 in Singapore.
“To visit North Korea was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down,” Palin said. “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 has been making travelogues since the 1980s. This is his first for Channel 5. It goes out later this year.
ITN Productions is making the series with director Neil Ferguson from FOMO Films. “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,” said Will Smith, head of factual at ITN Productions.