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Sir Michael Palin to travel across Iraq in new Channel 5 series

Michael Palin: Into Iraq will air on Channel 5 later this year (ITN Productions/Jaimie Gramston/PA)
Michael Palin: Into Iraq will air on Channel 5 later this year (ITN Productions/Jaimie Gramston/PA)

Sir Michael Palin will visit Iraq for the first time in a new documentary series for Channel 5.

Michael Palin: Into Iraq will be a three-part series and comes as a follow-up to the 2018 Bafta-nominated Michael Palin In North Korea.

Sir Michael will work with the same crew that accompanied him on his trip to North Korea and give viewers an insight into the country nearly 20 years on from the Iraq war.

He will embark on a 1,000-mile journey, following the course of the Tigris river from its source in eastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf.

The majority of Sir Michael’s journey will be through Iraq, where he will visit Mosul and Erbil, before following the river to Tikrit.

He will continue his journey into the capital Baghdad, exploring the city and the Green Zone.

As he heads further south, Sir Michael will see the historic sites of Babylon and Ur before completing his journey on the coast of Iraq.

During his travels, he will meet the people of Iraq and experience what life is like for the 40 million who live there today.

Sir Michael said: “I’ve never visited Iraq and it’s not the easiest country to work in, which is why we chose it as the focus for this series.

“Scarred by conflict, Iraq is also the birthplace of civilisation.

The three-part series comes as a follow up to Sir Michael’s 2018 trip to North Korea (ITN Productions/Jaimie Gramston/PA)

“Our story is one of survival, of a nation pulled back from the brink. We wanted to show how a country so long associated with war and violence is dealing with a fragile peace.

“The journey was an eye-opener, a succession of new experiences, new places and new people to meet, a fascinating adventure in a land where past, present and future are unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been. It was a pleasure and a privilege to be back on the road.”

The Monty Python star has previously presented a range of travel documentaries which have taken him across the globe, to remote locations including the North and South Poles, the Sahara Desert and the Himalayas.

Channel 5 factual commissioning editor Guy Davies said: “I’m thrilled to be working with Michael again and with the same ITN Productions team on another ground-breaking journey.

“It’s 20 years early next year since the Iraq War started, and that is so often how the region is defined. Michael’s journey goes much deeper, and what a guide to have.”

The series will be produced by ITN Productions and is due to air on Channel 5 later this year.

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