Palin arrives in Alexandria, Egypt and has difficulty getting a train to Cairo. On arrival, he attends a local football match and appears in a cameo role in an Egyptian film. After seeing the Pyramids in Giza and riding a camel named Michael, Palin runs into difficulties when the ship he was supposed to board has engine problems and cannot sail. Even though he is able to take a ferry from the city of Suez to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, he misses a key connection that would have taken him to Muscat. As a last ditch effort to save the journey, Palin and the director Clem Vallance are permitted by the Saudi authorities to drive across Saudi Arabia to Dubai, with the rest of the crew (and their problematic camera equipment) making the journey by air. The Saudi Arabia leg of the trip is represented in the TV series only with a few still pictures taken by Palin along the way.
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).