Palin accepts the offer from the BBC to attempt travelling around the world in 80 days. After setting off from the Reform Club in London, he boards the Orient Express at Victoria Station in London, while reminiscing on his rigorous preparations for his upcoming circumnavigation, which included a daily exercise programme, a chat with seasoned TV traveller Alan Whicker, and the purchase of an inflatable globe. He also has dinner with his 'referees', who include fellow Pythons Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, and Robert Hewison. After taking a ferry across the English Channel, Palin crosses the Alps by train before being stopped in Innsbruck due to an Italian railway strike. Arriving in Venice by coach, he helps the local sanitation department clean up the city. After that, he travels through the Corinth Canal to Athens, where he sees the world-renowned evzones, and meets a die-hard Python fan. After a brief stopover in Crete, Alexandria beckons.
Around the World in 80 Days is a BBC television travel series first broadcast in 1989. It was presented by comedian and actor Michael Palin. The show was inspired by Jules Verne's classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days, in which a character named Phileas Fogg accepts a wager to circumnavigate the globe in eighty days or less. Palin was given the same deadline, and not allowed to use aircraft, which did not exist in Jules Verne's time and would make completing the journey far too easy. He followed Phileas Fogg's route as closely as possible. Along the way he commented on the sights and cultures he encountered. Palin encountered several setbacks during his voyage, partly because he travelled with a five-person film crew, who are collectively named after Passepartout, Phileas Fogg's Manservant.
The programme was a critical and commercial success, winning strong ratings in the UK and selling well abroad. It was also released on video tape and later on DVD. Following the trip Michael Palin wrote a book about the experience. This book contains much more detail than could be present in the TV programme, and Palin's personal views are also more clearly evident. The book contains many pictures from the trip.
Around the World in 80 Days was followed by several similar conceptual travel series starring Michael Palin. These were Pole to Pole (travelling from the North Pole to the South Pole), Full Circle (circumnavigation of the Pacific Rim), Hemingway Adventure (following in the footsteps of Ernest Hemingway), Sahara (travelling around and through the Sahara Desert), Himalaya (travelling around the Himalayas), and New Europe (travelling around Eastern Europe).