Michael Palin's New Europe
Sunday 16 September
9:00pm - 10:00pm
1/6 - War and Peace
Genial explorer Michael Palin packs his travel bag for a journey behind what used to be called the Iron Curtain. Palin, as charming and unjudgmental as always, chats animatedly to locals in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Albania on the first leg of his trip. It's a fairly gentle stroll, as opposed to a gruelling journey in the mould of Pole to Pole and Around the World in 80 Days. And it takes a little while to find its feet, feeling initially like a holiday programme, as everything looks so lovely and the inhabitants of each of the countries all seem pretty happy with their lot after the collapse of Communism.
But New Europe does weave its spell, particularly when Palin visits the brutalised city of Mostar, symbol of the pointless slaughter of the Balkan war, with its Muslim cemetery full of young lives ended prematurely. But even here, now that its fabled bridge has been restored after being destroyed in 1993, residents are slowly feeling their way to normality- even though the surrounding countryside is littered with unexploded land mines.