If you only wish to see more of Michael Palin, then do watch "New Europe" and you'll probably enjoy it greatly for the programmes all centre around him. As for any actual, lasting coverage of the broad sweep supposedly made by the series, I found the programmes a huge disappointment.
Thanks to "New Europe", the current affairs and history of these substantial and most relevant areas of the world remain relatively untapped subjects as far as mainstream British documentary is concerned. There was a wonderful opportunity (with great potential) pretty much wasted here. In my opinion, the B.B.C. certainly didn't live up to its reputation for quality and thought-provoking material. A few people and landscapes were pleasantly captured by the cameras, but Mr. Palin hadn't lived up even to his own reputation for rewarding travelogue. Maybe he was restricted by production pressures to "dumb-down" ? Who knows ?
Those are obviously my own views. What cannot be denied by anyone is how the countries "featured" were given decidedly unequal, highly unpredictable, unjust and relatively shallow coverage. I sincerely regret the simplified impressions portrayed of the countries and their cultures (if such a strong phrase as "impressions" can be used). I also regret any unfavourable ideas given to overseas audiences about English "mentality" or prejudice. I know Michael Palin wouldn't want to seem disrespectful, but to me he appeared to be heading that way at times.
I don't denounce humour - believe it or not - when it's appropriate and when some degree of substance is found within it, but none is to be expected here.
I look forward to a "New Europe" by Michael Wood.
S. O. F.
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