Michael Palin: Into Iraq: Channel 5 release date of adventure travel series - who is presenter, where is Iraq?

Travel documentary series Michael Palin: Into Iraq will see the former python visit the Middle Eastern country for the first time

Michael Palin’s Channel 5 documentary series Into Iraq will follow his travels across the Middle Eastern country. The series will air shortly after the release of his travel book of the same name which recounts his experiences in a country that has been wracked by decades of conflict.

Filmed over three weeks, Palin will follow the River Tigris from eastern Turkey for more than 1000 miles across the length of Iraq. The country is associated in the West with the war that lasted from the US invasion in 2003 until the troop withdrawal in 2011.

Michael Palin: Into Iraq

Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) were defeated in 2017, but low-level ISIL threats persist in the country. However, Iraq is also known for being the cradle of civilisation and has an ancient and rich culture, which Palin will seek out on his travels.

What is Michael Palin: Into Iraq about?

The travel series will follow Palin as he travels to Iraq, seeing the country for the first time, just as most of the audience will. The first episode will see Palin travel by train from the snowy mountains of eastern Turkey into Iraq for the first time, beginning his epic journey.

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In the second episode he will gain access to the oil fields of Baghdad, the country’s capital. He will visit a shrine along the River Tigris which honours victims of the Camp Speicher massacre, in which 1,700 Iraqi cadets were executed by ISIL.

Palin told The Express: "I don’t go into these experiences expecting to be frightened. I go into them expecting them to be absolutely fine like they’re only headlines in the papers.

"But you get there and realise it’s a different matter, you realise there is a lot of anger around and that could be dangerous.

"I was told not to go out at night because we would be a target, but that’s my favourite thing to do, to go out for a walk and grab a coffee or a beer.”

Michael Palin has previously traveled to North Korea for Channel 5

When is Michael Palin: Into Iraq on TV?

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The first episode of Michael Palin: Into Iraq will air on Tuesday 20 September on Channel 5 at 9pm.

There are three hour-long episodes in the series and they will be released at the same time weekly. Episodes will also be available to watch on My5 shortly after they are first broadcast.

Where is Iraq?

Iraq is a country in the Middle East, roughly 3,000 miles from the UK. The country borders Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia Kuwait, and Syria, which is still in a state of civil war.

The UK government advises against all travel to Iraq and cites a risk of terrorism and kidnapping.

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Iraq is a fairly large country, at 170,000 square miles compared to the UK which is roughly 94,000 square miles. Iraq has a poulation of 40 million, making it the 36th largest country in the world.

Who is Michael Palin?

Michael Palin is a 79 year old comedian, actor, presenter and writer. He is best known for being a member of the groundbreaking British comedy troupe Monty Python.

Alongside fellow Pythons Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones he starred in the sketch series Monty Python’s Flying Circus and the films Holy Grail, Life of Brian, and Meaning of Life.

He has presented several travel shows including Himalaya, Brazil, New Europe, and North Korea. He has also written several travel books based on his experiences shooting the documentaries. Palin married Helen Gibbins in 1966 and the couple have three children together.

Is there a trailer?

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Yes there is, and you can watch it right here: