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Death of Stalin star Michael Palin was granted access to visit North Korea earlier this year, calling the trip an “eye-opener” and “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,” he explained in a press release. “That we were able to travel across the country and get some sense of everyday life was enormously exciting.”

But before you think sending The Nicest Man in Comedy™ into uncharted territory is a canny diplomatic move, it is in fact for a TV show.

Michael explored the secretive country to film a travel series called, wait for it: Michael Palin in North Korea. Genius. He reportedly travelled over 1,300 miles around the country, from the capital Pyongyang to Mount Paektu, a sacred volcano on the border with China.

It’s the latest series in what has become a second career for the Monty Python comic actor: namely, fronting travel documentaries. Since 1989’s Round the World in 80 Days, Michael has travelled across deserts, oceans and mountain ranges, encountering unusual practices and exploring far-flung places, though this journey might be the most surprising yet.

North Korea is known as the “Hermit Kingdom” since sealing itself off from the outside world after the Korean War. Tensions between it and its neighbors have been building for years, though a recent summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in indicated a rapprochement might be in the cards.

Michael and his camera crew were in the country when that historic meeting took place in April, meaning they were able to capture reactions from local people.

Michael Palin in North Korea will air on Channel 5 in the U.K. later this year. A U.S. broadcast is yet to be announced.

Are you intrigued to see this series?

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Filed Under: Michael Palin
By Kat Sommers
Kat is a freelance writer for Anglophenia.