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Michael Palin's New Europe : Complete BBC Series [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Michael Palin
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 3
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 2entertain
  • DVD Release Date: 22 Oct 2007
  • Run Time: 410 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000VA3J4S
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,012 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Michael Palin undertakes a new journey through Eastern Europe in this fascinating BBC series, breathing in its rich history, filming its exquisite sights and talking to its diverse peoples.

Until the early 1990s, when the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, traveling behind the iron curtain was never easy and now Palin fills what has been a void in his own experience and that of very many of his own generation.

As in all his series, Palin's New Europe takes the form of a journey through countries which have rich and complex cultures. Few have survived intact, as the ebb and flow of warring armies has continually changed the map of Europe.

Starting in the mountains of Slovenia he travels down through Croatia and the former Yugoslavia to Albania before turning northwards to embrace Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, The Ukraine, The Czech Republic, Slovakia, the former East Germany, Poland, the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad (as Konigsberg originally home to the Teutonic Knights), Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, opening up a new and undiscovered world to millions of viewers.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Rowena Hoseason HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 27 Oct 2007
Previous great adventures by Michael Palin have been interesting because of the insights we've gained into the places and people. But in New Europe the show seems to be mostly about Michael Palin himself, and what he thinks of everything, and precious little about the countries he visits.

Just when you get to something interesting -- like, for example, the woman in a thoroughly modern clinic who was treating patients with leeches in all seriousness -- the programme dissolves into nudge-nudge humour. There's no proper translator so we don't know what the nurse (doctor?) was using the leeches for. Instead it's a good excuse for Palin to wiggle his eyebrows and make some jokes.
Similarly, when something interesting hoves into view -- a fascinating historical ship on which Palin stays for a night -- you don't get to hear its full story. Or even very much about it. This is really frustrating.

In the final epsiode, Slovakia was dismissed with a short segment about rural folks slaughtering a pig and making sausages. Then the Czech Republic was represented by Palin going to another health spa, meeting the current Miss World, and bathing in mud baths and being given a hot-stone massage. You can see this at your local spa; there must have been something more revealing to film in Czech, surely?
To be fair, that light-hearted segment was balanced with a more in-depth and serious review of the Stasi and their activities in East Germany. But this was a small proportion of the programme; if only all of it had been so relevant and interesting. And if only it had focussed on the people and places, and not Palin's reactions to them...

At the end of each programme it feels as if you've been sent a scrawled postcard from lots of locations.
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63 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Piotr Ney on 4 Mar 2008
Over last few years while living in Old Europe, I grew increasingly conscious of my family's Eastern European roots. I now take every opportunity to explore the lands and people previously familiar to me mostly from childhood stories. I have also with much interest followed Michael Palin's grand escapades since the very first episode of Around the World in 80 Days. With these two loci converging, I keenly anticipated his New Europe series. I was curious whether Palin would confirm my own impressions of the countries I already know, while offering additional insights and interpretations. Similarly, I hoped that he would provide insightful appetisers of the countries I have yet to visit, and help me prioritise my next few journeys. That's what a good travelogue should accomplish.

New Europe, to employ the label this series adopted, is a semi-continent of contrasts and contradictions, of a strident embrace of the future and its new possibilities, as well as a new insecurity and nostalgic clinging to recent past, no matter how painful and deceitful it actually was. Palin's series had an outstanding opportunity to illuminate these tensions, and give us a balanced analysis of our newly rediscovered neighbours.

It is sad that Palin's series fails to achieve this. It is badly let down both by its format and execution. There may be many effective ways of approaching the subject, but the "artificial vignette" style was a poor choice, lazily executed. Backed by the Palin powerful brand and BBC's enterprising resources, a team of researchers were presumably sent out months ahead to various East European capitals with the mission to arrange, typically,
1. a local twenty-something babe to welcome Palin and show him around,
2.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Robert Marsland on 10 July 2011
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Having read some of the other reviews of this series, you would think that this
travelogue of The New Europe was a massive letdown. All I can say is that it least such a thing has been attempted and that for me it was for the most part informative and interesting. With so much ground to cover in such a short span of film, really it was going to offer no more than a taster. You do see things in this series that you are unlikely to have seen before and although not underplaying the difficulties that many of these countries have, also highlights some of their charms. By no means perfect but still very watchable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By drmar120 on 23 Oct 2011
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This is Palin on the road in a more relaxed mode; not the stunt travel of Around the World and Pole to Pole, which undoubtedly pushed our peripatetic narrator to his limits. This is a leisurely amble through eastern Europe and parts of the old Soviet Union. Meeting interesting people, learning about the cultures, seeing the sights, occasionally doing silly Palinesque things. What's sad about it is how terribly dated Palin's questions about the New Europe's glowing future now sound--with the Eurozone disintegrating before our eyes. Still, it's an entertaining travelogue that Palin's fans will not want to miss.
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43 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Mr. B. Rich-swift on 13 Oct 2007
I was really looking forward to the series as an avowed lover of all things Eastern Europe, but the series has been well below par. The continuity is all wrong, he left Bulgaria in summer and reached Turkey by truck in winter? How long does it take to drive 200 miles? The same thing in crossing Moldova to Romainia. Also he shows so little of the country, the food,the scenery. Instead we have long interviews with people who are interesting for the first minute but then are bores. Did we need to know all about the failed Yorkshire Rock singer who is "big" in the Ukraine? Or the trafficking play in Moldova that seemed to last for over 5 minutes, we got the point after one. Palin seems to have lost his magic too and is coasting through the series without much wit or charisma.
Too much focus on central Turkey ( is that Eastern Europe?),practically nothing on PMR ( Transdniester )which is a fascinating land,I believe the series will not go to Belarus which is a shame as it is possibly Europe's least known country. I could go on as this series is such a let down compared to the other excellent work that Michael Palin has done in the field of travel programming.

Maybe it is time for Mr.Palin to pass on the baton to someone else such as the chap who did the "Holidays In The Danger Zone" series ( name forgotten ).
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