Come Fly With Me

Michael Palin was on TV recently promoting his new book and television series about Brazil. He was asked if there were countries he hadn’t visited on his travels: there weren’t many. I began to think about all of the household names that have given us some amazingly educational insights and ‘fly on the wall’ access, for all manors of reasons, to some of the most remote, even inhospitable regions of our planet. Places we will never go. Terrain and landscapes as inaccessible to you and me as that of Mars or Venus. All were, and some still are seasoned travellers clocking up millions of air-miles between them. I remember Alan Whicker jet-setting around the world allowing us all to live the exotic dream via the small box in the corner of the living room. Judith Chalmers took us on faraway holidays, taking the tan for the team! Professor Brian Cox is oft to be found on volcanic slopes of dramatic proportions brilliantly theorising about the beginnings of life, the universe and everything. A thought occurred to me that these are just a few such travelling educators down the years from this country alone and, that being the case, there must be thousands of such broadcasters from hundreds of countries all travelling the world doing the self same things for home consumption. One can only imagine, as in a classic Monty Python-type sketch, all these khaki clad presenters ‘Rabbiting’ to camera as another fifty crews from other countries are passing in the distance or hanging from trees as the natives search out honey from the rain forest canopy. One pair of Hairy Bikers may be passing their French counterparts right now on a Spanish road, much in the same way that a German crew might meet an American crew bathing in an Icelandic Geyser. Palin becomes a caricature of himself. Sitting in his canoe gliding down the Amazon, one expects to see Cleese at a desk preparing for something completely different.

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