Around the World in 80 Days (1989–…): Season 1, Episode 1 - The Challenge - full transcript

OK, sorry. Bye.



Yup. BBC? Yes, I know.
...You want me to what?

You want me to go round the world?

Yeah, but why? You can go
Round the world in 36 hours.

Ah... 80.

80 days, yes.

Oh, I see, and I'd be... I'd be Phileas Fogg.

And we follow the Jules Verne...
And no aircraft, yeah.

I love the idea, smashing idea,
But I don't have 80 days, that's all.

I've got three weeks USA publicity,

A week with Brando in Tahiti,
Then Stockholm for the Nobel thingy,

Then I'm doing "Hamlet" in Moscow
For the British Council, so I have no time.

It's the usual story. I spend my life
Travelling and seeing nothing at all.

There's no time. Air travel
Is just a way of seeing airports.

Real travel is what you buy in bookstands
And read about in seat 39K.

Whoever nowadays could afford 80 days
To go around the world?

Well, somewhere in the middle of another
Flight to another anonymous airport,

I decided that perhaps, after all, I could.

I really want to travel light.

Fogg hardly took anything at all.

All those books!
You'll never get them in that bag.

A sweater as well... You'll need a sweater.

I need these. This is survival.
I need all those.

I don't think you'll need all those.

But this might be the big chance
To get past page seven!

I can jettison those, you're right.

You don't need that.

I got that in Turkey! It's what I need.

You don't. You can buy another one.

Doesn't fit anyway. Ho... Ha!

Tommy Cooper impressions
Won't be appreciated!

What about my running shoes?
I've got to keep fit.

- OK, right.
- The books on the bottom.

And there are too many books.

And i've got my drugs, all my drugs.
17 ways of avoiding diarrhoea.

Just stick the bottle up... Anyway, mustn't.

I've got a few more things to put in there.

Six pairs of pants, six shirts, six socks?

Kind of symmetrical.

Phileas Fogg left from here 116 years ago

In October 1872.

He set off with head high, clear eye,
Never hurried, always calm,

But then, of course, he was fictional.

I've actually got to do it.

To go where he only went
In Jules Verne's mind,

Across Europe, into Egypt, around
The Arabian Peninsula to India,

Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Japan.

Then I must follow Fogg
Across the Pacific to California.

From there, take a train across America
To Halifax, Nova Scotia, or New York.

Then to Liverpool, London and home.

The rules: to be back in 80 days
And no aircraft.

I will have help.
Fogg took a servant, Passepartout.

My Passepartout is five people
And works for the BBC.

I thought I was the only one
Travelling light. I'm not going.

Right, where are the porters?
The 40 bearers we're going with?

At the last moment, I remembered to bring
A tie. Might be useful for strangling muggers.

We start in style.
One of the quickest services across Europe

Is still the Orient Express.

Fogg employed friends as referees.

Two of them were bankers. Two of mine
Are Pythons - Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.

See, I am leaving.

I think we have to prove to the watching
Bods that this is the right day.

- Right.
- There you are, look.

- Say it.
- "Sunday, 25th September, 1988."

- What is this?
- We want this to be with you everywhere.

In my pocket? That's all I need, really (!)

Bye-bye, love.

Katie, bye-bye!

Cheerio, Tom.

Bye-bye, Joan. Bye-bye!

If I kiss everybody, i'll never get on
The train. Better take these things!

Phileas knew the answer to all this nonsense.
He was a bachelor.

My BBC fee!


Bye-bye! Bye-bye, everyone!

Why do you all look so happy?!

Well, that's it. I've said goodbye.
Like it or lump it, I'm off round the world.

I'm quite glad of this soft start.

To tell the truth, although it's only
Day One, I'm worn out already.

I'd forgotten that unusual journeys
Require unusual preparations.

Heart rate is 164.

Average test time is five to six minutes.

You're doing well. Keep going there.

So, in summary, therefore,
You are very fit.

Well done.

I'll be able to carry everybody's bags,
But don't tell them that.

You cannot take Indian rupees into India.
Similar problem in Egypt.

The other great problem you have
That Fogg didn't have is bureaucracy.

The important thing is that your stomach
Should be all right,

So take some strong pills.

Is this absolutely necessary?

When you fly into a deep calm,
You need something to read.

You must have books, preferably
About the places you are going to.

I think it's absolutely lunatic,
But incredibly exciting.

- Normally takes seven days.
- Bit like hard work.

There we are. I can check on my progress.

- Use it as a pillow...
- Kick it about.

Beach ball, yes.
Got a lot of on-deck travelling.

Then let it down and fold it away.

I'll have to be careful
Not to stick pins in it to mark my progress.

Shall I take a puncture... A world repair kit?

- It should be tough.
- Shall we see if it goes down easily?


It does actually say on the packet
"Blow Up the World"...

Could be dangerous.
Oh, "Blow-Up World", sorry.

Oh, dear, this'll take us more than 80 days!

I don't think I can get this down every night -
As the actress said to the cartographer!

It's all very well
While the champagne is flowing,

But what have I got to look forward to?

A lot of sea, that's for sure,
But how do I get across it?

Lloyd's of London has been the nerve centre
Of world shipping for 300 years.

At their headquarters, a great bell is rung
Every time a ship is sunk.

I tried to find out how much sea travel
Has changed since Fogg's day.

Wednesday, 2nd October, 1872.
This is the actual day

That the fictional Phileas Fogg set off
On the journey I'm going to be making.

And these are a number of boats.
What happened to them on that day?

They're in trouble. They've been wrecked,
Or had their sails ripped away, or been sunk.

- Something very serious.
- Five... Six at least.

And more over the page.

If I survive the storms and cyclones
Is one thing,

But what other problems will I encounter
By going country to country by boat now?

Is it a regular service or what?

You won't find many regular services.

In the '50s, you'd get a passenger ship
From Southampton.

You knew that on Thursday at 4 p.m. You could
Get a Union Castle ship to South Africa.

That doesn't happen any more. You'll get
A lot of difficulty with time delays.

You're going to find troubles - perhaps
A ship that's due to sail on a Thursday

Will have boiler trouble, or need a new crew,

Perhaps engine repairs, waiting for cargo,

May delay you a day, half a day
And put your schedule back all the time.

Taking my route, which takes me
Across Suez, the Indian Ocean,

The South China Sea, the Pacific
And Atlantic, what are my chances?

I will be very surprised if you get round
The world in 80 days the way you are going.

I really will.

My early optimism dented, I decided to find
Out the problems before they found me.

Going through 20 countries one after
The other raises all sorts of questions.

Thinking of awful emergencies,
Suppose I lost all my money?

Say it fell into the sea,
Or I got my riyals mixed up,

How easy is it for you to get money out to me
In an emergency?

You've got our telephone number.

I suggest... I know your voice
And most of my staff know your voice,

But someone may answer that doesn't know
Michael Palin's voice.

So, we'll have a codeword between us
That will identify you.

- What do you suggest? "Panic"? "Help"?
- No, too obvious.

Let's keep it slightly obtuse.

How about the old film of 1979,

- Now, who is going to think of that?
- Exactly!

I'll never remember that!

Jabberwocky it is.


Impressed by my bank manager's
Knowledge of old films,

I was beginning to feel a touch intrepid.

After all, ever since I could read,
I'd been fascinated by travellers' tales.

Would the Royal Geographical Society be
Interested in my memoirs of the journey?

Practically every explorer of the last 160
Years has presented their papers to us.

The Palin Collection we'd love to have.

- You would?
- Oh, yes, please.

Would I be accorded
The title of explorer on this?

If you manage to get round the world
In 80 days now, you'll deserve the title.

That is all the motivation I needed.

Being an explorer was the first thing
I ever wanted to be.

Surely childhood dreams don't come true
This easily.

I'm not quite as august company as these.

These gold medallists
Have done amazing achievements.

- There's still a little space at the bottom.
- There is.

- Maybe if I try hard.
- Best of luck.

Thank you for your help.
I'll see you in 80 days.

High above Hyde Park, I tracked down
Someone whose name is not found

On the Royal Geographical Society's boards,

But who nevertheless personifies
The explorer of the TV age,

Someone who spent a lifetime
Bringing the world home.

How do you cope when things fall apart
Or something unusual happens?

I become tremendously British.

You must always speak English. You
Mustn't try and speak the local language.

When the Ton Ton Macoute
Are sticking guns into your ribs,

You mustn't try and say, "Please, don't."

You say, "Do you mind standing aside?
BBC Television. Just back a bit."

That's exactly what we did
And it worked like a dream.

Don't speak their language
Because you won't do it well

And they have the advantage.

Of course, it isn't just me,
It's also my Passepartout...

- The heavy mob.
- My five trusted people.

How do you cope with living day by day
With a crew for seven or eight weeks?

It's a hell of a problem, I must say.

But I think you must be honest,
Not try to fool the viewer.

When you see Bernard Levin
Going over the Pyrenees in his funny shorts,

Standing on this peak all alone and solitary,

You know that behind him are two limos
Full of pas and his Thermos,

Cameramen and everybody else,

You know it's nonsense.

You, creditably, are not pretending
You are on your own.

- No, it's more them than me.
- At least they can carry your stuff.

The other thing to remember
Is that any fool can be uncomfortable.

The thing to do is to make yourself comfortable,
And you can almost anywhere.

When you're going in this dhow
Across the Indian Ocean,

There will be ways of making sure
You have the best rowlock to lean on.

I shall remember that!

I'll look in my medical bag
For when someone leans on a rowlock!

Phileas Fogg put ?20,000 on himself
When he left.

I want to know whether these odds
Can be more sporting before I bet.

I'm not going to stand here and say
You've got no chance, am I?

It's two to one on that you will succeed.

- You reckon I'm going to make it?
- I do.

When I came to round about
The 22nd October,

I did begin to worry.

- Because you had a look?
- Yes. You're going on dhows. What's a dhow?

It's a very rickety wooden boat that is blown
Across the Persian Gulf to India.

Chances of surviving that!

I don't think that Michael Palin
Would go in for something

And not succeed.

- You're trying flattery.
- How about that?

- i've had a look at it...
- i'll show you my exam results one day.

I said, "He's really going to do this

"because his Christmas dinner when
He gets back will be spoiled if he fails!

"So it has to be 2-1 on."

That's not bad, you know.
Have you got your 20,000?

- Get some punters?
- You won't get Fogg out?

- i'll give you 20.
- You must back it, mustn't you?

If everyone else will, too. You'll have a go?
There we are.

- Everyone's gonna have a go.
- This could pay for the Christmas dinner!

You see, I have to be very careful
Because there are only two variables.

There's very little percentage
With just two runners.

I need to be very careful
In how I get the odds marked.

It's 6-4 against. Wonder
If anyone wants to bet you won't do it.

The last few hundred yards of England.

A final image of home -

Folkestone in the autumn sun.

It'll be midwinter when I get back...
If I get back.

Only when we've cast off the last rope
That joins us to the dockside

Do I sense with a tightening of the stomach
That what we have taken on is irrevocable.

There's no shortcut, no pretence.
We have to do it.

The time for talking has passed.

- Everyone knows you can do it.
- What do you mean?

- By surface transport?
- It doesn't sound very much, does it?

I could go round the world in 80 days,
But that's not really what you're doing.

I think you're celebrating travel.

The night before we sail,
I throw a farewell dinner for my referees.

If you travel by plane, there's no sensation
Of having got anywhere.

I took my mother to New York by Concorde.

We got to New York and she said, "Right, yes?"

I said, "You've been across the Atlantic
In 2 hours 59 minutes! It's incredible!"

She said, "Right. Where now?"

It's the same time it takes
To get from Suffolk to London.

But is there any element of risk here?
Or is it all planned ahead?

No, it's planned. The BBC - the fools! -
Have worked out,

They've made contact with people
In the various ports.

Everybody, including the shipping agents
In the ports, say the boats can be held up.

What we need, what we definitely need
Is proof. Visible proof.

You need something I can get from those
Places that I can't get in Carnaby Street.

I'd like something rather selfish.

Phyllida and I are having our first baby
And we're told

That it is to be born on the 8th of April.

So, I'd like a top-class astrological chart
For a baby born on 8th April next year.

I don't want any of these computer things.
I want the real thing and in English.

- Where can I get these?
- Hong Kong, Singapore and India.

I would love a glazed Chinese tile.

- A roofing tile.
- That's great.

That would be wonderful.
The kind used in the Forbidden City.

You are all presuming that I will get
At least as far as Singapore

Without checking up on me at all, right?

Why check up on you, Michael?
We take it on trust.

You trust me. And you should,
Because you're my friends!

We trust you, Michael.
We don't trust the BBC.

Just because you work for Granada!

- He didn't mean that! We do trust the BBC!
- Very sorry.

He works for Granada. He's a bit
Of an argumentative character.

Carry on.

(PRODUCER) Tell you what, the first part
Of your journey is by the Orient Express.

Thus far, the problems of circumnavigation
Are confined to tying a bow tie.

As we hurry on towards Paris,
I can't help feeling a little complacent.

All this conviviality is infectious.

This is not a working trip,
Not just a journey.

People are here to have fun.

There are no train telephones,
Briefcases or calculators.

The biggest decision is likely to be
The choice of wine.

- Is it fine?
- It's very fine.

- Thank you, sir.
- Quite excellent.

I'd say it was an... 1986... Sancerre,
Am I right?

Just a little knack i've picked up
Over the years!

- Reading, it's called!
- Even I got that one!


The partying persists long into the night.

I should be learning Arabic
Or checking schedules,

But I think it's too late for all that.

I'm going to London, but the long way round.

Where do you go from Venice?

Well, I go all over the place.

Um... Singapore, then up through China,
Japan, through the States,

And we end up at Halifax, Nova Scotia.

How do you get from there back to London?

Hopefully, by boat.
Have you any alternatives?

We have a pipeline.

Oh, you're the pipeline people
We've heard about!

- How can that help me?
- We can flush you back from Nova Scotia!

A fitting end to my career -
Flushed down the Atlantic!

Is there a pipeline under the Atlantic?

They tell me so, yes. You can try it first.

You should know. You're pipeline buffs!

I think this is all... Yes, yes.

- Move on.
- Yes, move on.

I feel like going to bed. I think
Those little bedrooms are terrific.

They are.

If you like sleeping on top of each other.

Yes, I'm not averse to that at all!

But... Not tonight, Josephine.

My steward Geoff, bringer of comfort
And respecter of hangovers,

Wakes me gently.


- Good morning.
- Oh, sunshine!

How are you this morning?
It's a beautiful day outside.

- Where are we?
- Just outside Zurich.

Zurich. Oh, there it is!

No cloud.


Thanks. Going round the world
Is a doddle, isn't it?

That's the morning paper, sir.

Whenever you'd like me to do the beds,
Just give me a call.

I could stay here for 80 days, really.
I don't want to get off.

Black coffee and cool fresh mountain air
Combine to clear my head.


We're into the Alps, the sun is shining

And, most important,
We're heading east all the time.

I've flushed England out of my system.

There's no need to look back now.

Can you tell me something?

What I love about these compartments
Is that the craftsmanship is so good.

I saw on the end a plaque
Saying this was a brothel.

- How long ago?
- In Limoges in 1942-1945.

Used by the German army in Limoges.

- A mobile brothel or stationary?
- Stationary. At a station.

- For the officers only.
- I see you've kept the red lamps.

And the large toilet with mirrors
Down the hallway.

We're clocking off the countries

Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria...
Then the first piece of bad news.

Good morning, the m?itre d' will come to your
Cabin shortly to take brunch reservations.

There will be an industrial strike
By Italian railways,

Therefore the transfer between Innsbruck
And venice will be by coach. Thank you.

It would have to be today of all days
That the Venice-Simplon Orient Express

Will see neither Venice nor Simplon.

Innsbruck, Austria - an ignominious end
To a glorious journey

And a start to an new adventure

For everyone.


Ethel... This is five.

Weariness returns.

Day Two and things
Have already gone wrong.

The charm of Venice
Soothes my furrowed brow.

But this is not the Grand Canal.

Ominously, it's the Calle de Misericordia -
Pity Street.


Why is it that
Even in such faded surroundings

The Italian male manages to make
Everyone else look like Worzel Gummidge?

But I'm here. I have a bed, a bath and...

A room with a view.

- Grazie.
- Prego.

It's an intimate view, admittedly.

Probably of greatest interest
To roofing contractors,

But it's away from the crowds and the sights...
And almost everything, really.

Still, I think i've seen enough sights
For one day.

The ferry to Alexandria leaves in the evening,

So I have time to see a little more of Venice.

And early in the morning,
Out of season, is the perfect time.

Many of her citizens are still asleep
As I explore a few side alleys

In search of a different way to see the city.


Everyone has seen Venice in front of a singing
Gondolier or squashed in a launch.

But there are other Venetians who know
The canals just as intimately.

After some friendly persuasion,
A group of them agree to take me on.

- Michael.
- Reno.


For a few hours I become

A temporary unpaid auxiliary
With the Venice Sanitation Department.

Francesco is the leader of my gang.

He's 48 years old. His teenage children won't
Be able to afford to live in Venice.

As he says, even the rubbish
Isn't cheap here any more.

As we ply the canals,
Collecting Venetian disposables,

I feel a sense of superiority over
The expensive launches and gondolas.

We know they know we're indispensable.

This is the way to see Venice.
Gondolas, no.


There must be a few
Old rubbish clearing songs.


Ah, Sheffield Wednesday!

What's this? "Gianello Giancarlo..."

- Io Gianello Francesco!
- Really?

- "Gianello Giancarlo!"
- So it could be yours.

- "Quatro passe...
- "De Giudecca."

Ah. I think he's run four times
Round the Giudecca.

Ah, it's a running cup.

He's obviously given up his career now.

Apart from the off chance of a fragment
Of a Tintoretto or Titian turning up,

Garbage collecting, even in Venice,
Is boring work.

But, as canal dwellers know,
There's plenty of camaraderie.

There's even a dustman's song.

Uno, due, tre...


I don't know Italian, but I know it's filthy!

Sign them up! Thank you.
Here are the gloves.

I would love to take them,
But I am travelling light.



Only in Venice could this be a post office.

This merchant's headquarters is nearly
500 years old and still doing business.


Time to send back my dinner jacket
And that "lovely" little good luck card!

Marco Polo may have had spare room
When he set out from Venice, but I haven't.

Nor do I leave in a blaze of glory
From the steps of St Mark's Square,

But from the neglected backside of Venice -
The docks of San Marguerita at 10 p.m.

The ferry Espresso Egitto goes from Venice
To Alexandria once every ten days.

It's almost empty. That's how much
Air travel has changed things.

For those of us sensible enough
To have chosen a leisurely pace,

The rewards are a sense of ease
And relaxation.

That is, until I try to find my cabin
In the bowels of the ship.


This is ridiculous!
I've got find my way round the world!


Hello, love!

Yes, I'm on board ship. I'm in the wireless
Operator's cabin on the Espresso Egitto.

How are you?

All right. I'm very well.

Sorry I haven't rung before.
I've just not stopped.

We're sailing leisurely
Through the Gulf of Corinth

And it's all sunny and...
Well, I won't make you jealous.

We're going on to Athens briefly later today

And then i'll be in Cairo... Gosh, I think
Sometime around Saturday morning.


No, I'm not behind. No, on schedule.
Don't be like that.

When we get to Cairo, we'll have done 2,000
Miles - about 12th of the circumnavigation.

Sheffield United beat Newcastle? What?

Passepartout, not interested in football,

Is getting bored and prowls the deck
In search of innocent victims.


It's only near land
That sea travel becomes interesting.

In the Corinth Canal, it becomes spectacular!

The drama begins with the boarding
Of no less than three pilots to guide us!

As we approach, the road is lowered
Beneath the water to let us pass.

The mouth of the canal
Is like the narrowest eye of a needle.

From a distance,
The operation looks impossible.

Even when we're inside, I can't quite believe
It isn't a Cecil B De Mille special effect.

It'll take all the skill of our captain,
The three pilots and a tugboat

To get us through
The four-mile canal in one hour.

The French engineers who dug the canal
Took 12 years over it.

It was opened in 1893, 20 years too late
For Jules Verne to use.

As it was, he put Fogg on the SS Mongolia,

Which went from Brindisi straight to Bombay,
Missing Greece altogether.

I have time for a flying visit to Athens.

It's just long enough to catch a glimpse of
One of the world's more remarkable armies.

They are the ?lite presidential guard,
Known splendidly as the Evzones.

God help those who giggle at their get-up.

Above the pom-poms are tough men indeed.

Amongst their duties is the mounting
Of a guard at the national memorial.

They seem to do even this
In the most complicated way possible.

Those foot movements.
I've never seen anyone marching like that.

Where do those derive from?

They are the traditional steps
That the Evzones do.

They go from generation to generation.

They do it like this for years and years.

What qualifications do you need
To become an Evzone?

You must be over 1.85 metres in height.

You must have a good character,
Moral outlook and good morals.

The foustanella, what is that?

The foustanella is a special type of kilt.

It has 400 folds representing the 400 years
Of the Ottoman occupation.

This outfit you wear
Takes a long time to put on.

Two people put it on together. Why is that?

Because one of them
Is not able to do it by his own.

So he needs help from the second one.

It takes about one hour
To dress both of them.

They have one part for summer, they wear
In summer, and another for winter.

Terribly hot.

The stockings and shoes they wear all year.

During the summer it is,
But they have to take it.

Now our duties are mostly ceremonial,

But the Evzones are trained in their units
Before coming here in battle fighting,

So they are also good soldiers.

As it happens, it's not only the Evzones
Who are on display.

- How are you?!
- Very well.

- I love you!
- Oh, that's nice.

I have every single tape of Monty Python.

I loved you in "A Fish Called Wanda".

- And you've never met me before.
- I love you!

They'll never believe this.
They'll think we've rehearsed this.

Do the stuttering, please!

- No, no. I don't have my script.
- Please, please!

- After a year I'm allowed to do it.
- I loved it! I'm so excited!

- So what are you doing here?
- I think I came to see you.

I've got every Monty Python... I've got
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail", too.

That's... I think you deserve
Some sort of reward.

This encounter with my previous life

Reminds me that going round the world
In 80 days is quite sane compared to that.

So I leave Greece and tick off
Another ex-empire on the way.

Britain and Venice are behind me,
Crete and Egypt are ahead.

The Espresso Egitto has filled up.

There are now 300 passengers
For Franco and his team to cook for.

He needs all the help he can get.

I'll do it now. That looks satisfying.

Franco's one-man bakery sets a furious pace.

He has been doing it 27 years.

It is slightly like Dirty Fidos.
I'm sure you have them in Italy.

And a twiddle? Speciality of yours, Franco?


You're vetting them and getting rid
Of all mine, aren't you?

Now, i'll do one here.

I'll make a big "P".

A bit egotistical, I know,
But let's see if it'll work.

How about that?

There we are, a "P".
Blob at the end for an artistic touch.

There we are... A nice "P".

How about that?

This bit's boring, so go and film some
Arty shots of sea while I have some Chianti.

That's enough of that!

My last meal in Europe.

The m?itre d', Eros,
Presents me with my handiwork.

Alas, it no longer resembles a "P". He hands
It to me as if he'd found it on the floor!


- P?t??
- P?t?.

And... Er...

Tonight I treat myself to the works.

Hors d'oeuvres, risotto, cheese,

Red and white wine - a grand Euro blowout!

Farewell to the familiar.

From tomorrow, not only the food,

But the culture, surroundings, life itself,
Will be very different.


Hello? Ah, hello! This is Jabberwocky.

This is Jabberwocky.

Yes, is that Coutts Bank?

Is that Coutts Bank?

Yeah. This is Jabberwocky!

Reporting from 35.24 north, 25.44 east.


Ah, well, can you tell her it is Jabberwocky?

Hello... Jabberwocky!

I have a problem.
We are about to enter Egypt.

You told me not to take any money into Egypt,
It was illegal to take money into Egypt.

Someone on the boat says it is legal
To take money into Egypt in advance.

Request advise. This is Jabberwocky.

This leisurely crossing of Europe

Has been only a rehearsal for what lies ahead.

With 74 days left, I'm about to enter a world

Where things no longer happen
The way they do at home.