Michael Palin - Full Circle 
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From Michael Palin and the team that brought you Around the World in 80 Days and Pole to Pole comes the most ambitious journey every undertaken for a television series - 50,000 miles of adventure and humour-packed incident which attempts a complete circle around the world's largest ocean. Michael sets off from Diomede, in the Bering Strait, and hopes to return there one year later via Russia, Japan, Korea, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Borneo, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and the whole length of the Americas. But right from the start things don't go to plan
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The journey starts in Alaska then on to Russia, Japan, S Korea, China, Vietnam, Philippines, Borneo, Java, Australia, New Zealand.
He then crosses the Pacific to travel up the west coast of South America to Mexico, California and British Colombia.
One hell of a trip travelling full circle around the countries that surround the Pacific Ocean.
The third in the epic travel series undertaken by Michael Plain. Michael is off travelling through the countries along the Pacific Rim (18 countries and 50000 miles of it!). Starting from Diomede Island in the Bering straits making his way through Alaska, Russia, Asia Pacific, Australasia, South America, North America and back round to where he started. The difference between this series and the first two is there is no real sense of urgency or time factor involved, they simply set out to complete the whole journey in about a year, so that element of tension/pressure is missing.
As ever Michael and his excellent team make for a very colourful journey turning up many delights and surprises along the way. The series is filmed in similar fashion to the first two series in that we get to see the triumphs/tribulations of the journey, giving a much more authentic feel to it. Michael's usual demeanour prevails throughout making very avid viewing. Some of his interactions with bemused locals who don't understand English are almost like something out of a python sketch.
The series gives tantalising if somewhat brief glimpses into amazing cultures and places throughout the Pacific Rim countries, that few of us are ever likely to see. The wealth of cultures encountered are quite bewildering, again Michael goes out of his way in order to sample something of the local tradition, quite often attempting a little of the local language. The natural beauty of some of the places he goes to such as the Kamchatka national park which until recently was completely off limits to any foreigners is simply awe inspiring. The sheer diversity of South America from the southern glaciers through dry arid deserts up to the hot humid jungles of the north, each with their own unique landscapes and of course highlights such as Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca etc.
The sheer scale of this series offers 10 x 50-minute programmes, which makes for over 8 hours of very entertaining viewing. The bonus features are a half-hour interview with Michael as well as about half an hour of additional deleted scenes. The picture and sound quality are both very good with the picture being presented in 4:3 format only. The pack is well presented containing 3 DVD discs with four episodes per disc, with interactive menus to aid programme/scene selection. I must note that the inside sleeve contents are somewhat inaccurately labelled, as it lists each DVD as having only three episodes per disc, which can lead to slight confusion as to which episode is on which disc.
Overall the package is excellent value for money with very entertaining/informative BBC series once more. This series it must be said is not quite up to the very high standards set by Around the world and Pole to Pole, but still an excellent endeavour and streets ahead of many travel series out there!
Rivetting viewing and Michael has the knack of reaching out from the screen, involving the viewer at a personal level. His other series have all been excellent, but this one eclipses them all. The most fascinating documentary I have seen. Michael Palin is to the "people world" what David Attenborough is to the "animal world".
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