TV Show Review

Michael Palin in North Korea

In today’s connected era, if there is one country that is the least connected and known to the outside world it will be North Korea (DPRK). Till last year, when Mr Trump and Mr Kim Jong-un met in Singapore, the world especially Japan and South Korea were on the fear of a nuclear war in the Korean peninsula.

When we hear the country’s name we see an image of a country that is tightly run, food being scarce, and the colossal military drills, gigantic misses and tanks that parade in the city square. Other than these, we knew nothing about the country. In the past I have travelled to South Korea, whose people I found to be friendly and I have been to Seoul, a lovely city, and I wished I can learn/see more of Korea – North Korea was a big missing piece. I have seen a few travel videos on YouTube covering the capital Pyongyang, that’s all.

Michael explores Pyongyang and rest of North Korea – Bottom right you will see an Airport with fully stocked shops but with very little number of actual travelers.

Today I noticed in Hotstar App, a TV series (available for free) about North Korea by the famous travel writer Michael Palin. If anyone can do an objective documentary on DPRK it will be the Britisher. I started the series with a good dose of scepticism on how much of the real country Mr Palin will be able to see and cover. But as I continued I was flabbergasted with the cleanliness and how well-endowed Pyongyang appears, and, people appear to be just like everyone else in this world, going about their daily lives without bothering about a westerner and a camera crew starring at them. Mr Palin then travels to the countryside which was beautiful beyond imagination and he even gets to pose tough questions to a military general.

As I continued watching, I decided to set aside my doubts on how real and free were things around Mr Palin. We the viewers are no more informed than Mr Palin, so what’s the point. That aside, I was able to enjoy the documentary. We need more of these cultural & travel connections with North Korea before we can even expect the country to open up in any way.

Hopefully, before Mr Trump‘s re-election, he reaches an understanding where he is able to lift sanctions which are preventing even the basic relationships countries around the world can have with DPRK.

Watch for free Episode 1 (22 Dec 2018) & Episode 2 (23 Dec 2018).

2 Comments

  1. These two episodes were really awesome and I had it seen non stop, back to back. Just seeing this makes me feel how blessed we are to enjoy freedom to do what we wanted to. (and which most of us are grossly misusing). After the MGR illam and Kamarajar illam which I visited after seeing your post, this one also turned out to be a good investment of time…thanks.

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