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Michael Palin in Nigeria

Duration: 3 x 60'

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This gripping series follows broadcaster and writer Michael Palin's 1,300-mile journey across Nigeria - a country characterised by contrasting extremes but one of stunning natural beauty and welcoming people.

Michael has never visited Nigeria, and he’s long been fascinated by its story, cultures and significance within the African continent. Experiencing what life is like in this dynamic country, through the voices, opinions and experiences of Nigerians from all walks of life, he finds a place where optimism can rule in the face of adversity, where world history casts a shadow, and where the modern world and contemporary Africa’s dilemma of wealth and poverty are found side by side.

Starting in Lagos, Michael experiences a city of contrasting extremes, from heart wrenching poverty to extravagant wealth. Michael then flies 1000 kilometres to the Islamic North, a completely different land of Sharia law and Boko Haram strongholds, before starting a challenging road trip down through the spine of this country. 

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Stories of corruption and violence have often characterised how the country is portrayed in the media, but away from these stories the reality is much more complex.

With roadside attacks and kidnapping a very real threat, Michael and his team need to travel with armed guards. But his journey reveals a very different Nigeria and its people – one of stunning nature and beauty, strong cultures, and welcoming people.

Nigeria has a rapidly growing population of 220 million that is predicted to nearly double by 2050. It’s expected to become the third most populous country in the world after China and India and a major player on the world stage. 

With Nigeria set to be central to developments and events way beyond its boundaries in the next decades, this is the time to understand this major global player through the eyes and experiences of its people in this awe-inspiring place. For Michael, it may well turn out to be the most prophetic journey of his life.

For Michael, the so called ‘Giant of Africa’ is a story that reflects our contemporary world in so many ways, and his journey explores how Nigerians and their country face the many challenges of now, and the legacies of the past.

Michael Palin said: “Nigeria has the biggest economy, and the biggest population in Africa. The potential of the country is enormous, but so are its problems. Visiting the country for the first time, I saw these problems at first hand, but also caught a whiff of the excitement and energy of the place. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes a perplexing challenge, my journey through this rich, raucous mix of a country hardly gave me time to draw breath. I came home exhausted but exhilarated. And, as in the best of journeys, feeling I know a lot more about the world.”

What the Press Say:

The Telegraph - **** 'The former Python began his latest jaunt in Nigeria’s biggest city, showing no sign that his thirst for exploration is fading away'

The Times - 'The beauty of Palin’s series is their feel of wry intelligence'

Daily Mail - ****

For Channel 5

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