Michael Palin: Into Iraq follows Michael as he embarks on a 1000-mile odyssey, following the course of the great Tigris river from its source in eastern Turkey to the Persian Gulf. Most of his journey will be through Iraq and Michael will visit Mosul and Erbil, before following the river to Tikrit. He then moves on to Baghdad, exploring bustling city life and the Green Zone. As he heads further south Michael sees the legendary sites of Babylon and Ur before completing his journey on the coast of Iraq.
Season 1, Episode 01
Michael Palin embarks on a 1,000-mile adventure into Iraq, a country he has never visited before. He boards a train in the spectacular, snow-capped mountains of Lake Hazar in eastern Turkey, the source of the river Tigris, which Michael will follow until he reaches the Persian Gulf on the southern coast of Iraq. In the bustling Turkish city of Diyarbakir, Michael meets a local Kurdish woman, Dilan, for a delicious local feast and a window into the Kurds’ troubled relationship with federal Iraq. Further into his chaotic journey to the border, Michael’s next stop is Mardin, an ancient town built into the side of a mountain on the steppe of Iraq, where pigeon trainers make their birds ‘flip’ mid-air, and Michael’s remote hotel is hidden deep in the mountains. The next morning, Michael arrives at the official border, but it’s a day-long, chaotic challenge to cross.
Season 1, Episode 02
Michael continues his journey into the heart of Iraq, arriving in Kirkuk and the exact spot where the British discovered oil in 1927, when the country was under British rule. The next day, he heads towards Tikrit, Saddam Hussein’s home town and, having been stopped at several military checkpoints along the way, and met with severe military authority, is surprised when he receives a warm welcome from the local commander.
Season 1, Episode 03
As he begins the final part of his journey into Iraq, Michael finds a local school in Baghdad and talks to the children about their lives and future hopes. He also heads to Kerbala and the shrine of Imam Husayn, one of the most sacred religious sites in Iraq, visited by millions of Shia pilgrims each year. A truly humbling and extraordinary sight that is very rarely seen, it makes Michael weigh up this country’s recent troubled past and its incredible history.