If the mere sight of Michael Palin striding purposefully towards the camera across some foreign terrain is enough to send you into fits of delight, then Sahara
is just for you. Following his three pan-global expeditions, Palin is back on the exploration trail. This time it's traversing the Sahara desert; traveling from Gibraltar through Tangiers and the Arab world down through Africa and some of the most inhospitable conditions on the planet. The formula that Palin established in Around the World In Eighty Days
has hardly been tampered with, but Sahara
is proof that there are few better exponents of the travelogue. Palin is an engaging host, far more attractive than the extreme survival merchants, walking the fine line between experienced traveler and slightly eccentric Englishman abroad. The program also strikes a perfect balance between grand visual gestures (the camerawork is simply stunning) and focusing on the individual lives that characterize the region, all underpinned by Palin's unique brand of humor. This is one to return to again and again.
Sahara comes in at a mere four one-hour episodes and the producers were left with a huge amount of unused footage. Thus the DVD features a large selection of deleted scenes. The excellent set of extras also includes a collection of rough video diaries--mainly featuring Palin being pummeled by the elements--and an extensive interview with the presenter. The picture quality is fantastic (particularly compared to Palin's earlier series), as is the digital sound. The whole package is thoroughly recommended. --Phil Udell
Michael Palin's Sahara adventure is one of the great challenges in world travel. In this exhausting journey, Michael will pass through the rock of Gibraltar to Morocco, Mauritania, Mali and beyond. His route will take him across sand-seas, along treacherous rivers, through oases and over mountain ranges. The remote regions are characterized by ceaseless travel, from camel caravans to car rallies, but Michael Palin's love of traveling takes you to places many people will never know.