29 January 2024

Press Release

Michael Palin: Into Nigeria (w/t): Channel 5 Announces Location of Brand-New Third Series with Michael Palin

Press Release Contacts

Release Info


Channel 5

Quick Links

Michael Palin: Into Nigeria (w/t) 

 Channel 5 Announces Location of Brand-New Third Series with Michael Palin

Channel 5 today announces the location for Michael Palin’s latest major series, to air later this year. Michael Palin: Into Nigeria (w/t), produced by ITN Productions is a new three-part 1,300-mile journey series with broadcaster and writer Michael Palin, as he visits this vast country for the first time. The series is the follow-up to the critically acclaimed 2022 series Michael Palin: Into Iraq which reached 2.5million viewers and won a prestigious AIB award, and the twice BAFTA and RTS award nominated Michael Palin in North Korea. 

Nigeria has a rapidly growing population of 220 million predicted to nearly double by 2050.  It’s expected to become the third most populous country in the world after China and India and a major player on the world stage. Stories of corruption and violence have often characterised how the country is portrayed in the media, but away from these stories the reality is much more complex. 

Michael has never visited Nigeria, and he’s long been fascinated by its story, cultures and significance within the African continent. Experiencing what life is like in this dynamic country, through the voices, opinions and experiences of Nigerians from all walks of life, he finds a place where optimism can rule in the face of adversity, where world history casts a shadow, and where the modern world and contemporary Africa’s dilemma of wealth and poverty are found side by side. For Michael, the so called ‘Giant of Africa’ is a story that reflects our contemporary world in so many ways, and his journey explores how Nigerians and their country face the many challenges of now, and the legacies of the past.

Michael Palin said: “Nigeria has the biggest economy, and the biggest population in Africa. The potential of the country is enormous, but so are its problems. Visiting the country for the first time, I saw these problems at first hand, but also caught a whiff of the excitement and energy of the place. Sometimes inspiring, sometimes a perplexing challenge, my journey through this rich, raucous mix of a country hardly gave me time to draw breath. I came home exhausted but exhilarated. And, as in the best of journeys, feeling I know a lot more about the world.”

Starting in Lagos, Michael experiences a city of contrasting extremes, from heart wrenching poverty to extravagant wealth.  With his Nigerian and UK production team, Michael flies 1000 kilometres to the Islamic North, a completely different land of Sharia law and Boko Haram strongholds, before starting a challenging road trip down through the spine of this country.  With roadside attacks and kidnapping a very real threat, Michael and his team need to travel with armed guards.   But his journey reveals a very different Nigeria and its people - one of stunning nature and beauty, strong cultures, and welcoming people. With Nigeria set to be central to developments and events way beyond its boundaries in the next decades, this is the time to understand this major global player through the eyes and experiences of its people in this awe-inspiring place.  For Michael, at 80, it may well turn out to be the most prophetic journey of his life. 

Guy Davies, Channel 5 Factual Commissioning Editor Non scripted UK Originals Channel 5 / Paramount+, said: “It’s a thrill that Michael’s new journey is again with Channel 5 after two masterful series’ with us. Nigeria is more than an epic and beautiful journey, it’s a look at the future and past in a global context. It’s also one of the most extraordinarily visual and heartfelt series you’ll ever see, and who better than Michael to listen and learn as he meets the people of a country whose significance and influence will rise over the coming decades.” 

Will Smith, Head of Factual, ITN Productions, added: "We're delighted to be working with Michael again as he explores one of the most important yet least understood countries in the world. During a challenging journey down the spine on the country Michael goes beyond the stereotypes to reveal a land of extreme contrasts and beguiling beauty. As Nigeria's influence grows on the world stage this is a timely exploration of “The Giant of Africa."

A book to accompany the series will publish next year. 


Guy Davies - Channel 5 Commissioner 

Will Smith - Executive Producer (ITN) 

Neil Ferguson - Series Producer and Director (ITN)     


For further enquiries please contact:

 Julie Jack | Julie.Jack@paramount.com 

 Hannah Allan I Hannah.Allan@paramount.com 

 Susan Wilks | Susan.Wilks@paramount.com  

 For images please contact the picture desk: picturepublicity@paramount.com


About Channel 5

Channel 5 is a public service broadcaster and the UK’s third largest commercial TV station. Launched in March 1997, Channel 5 has been part of Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS) since its acquisition in September 2014. Channel 5 and its digital brands – 5STAR, 5USA, 5Select, 5ACTION and the on-demand service My5 – offer a diverse range of issue-led documentaries & popular factual celebrating the British countryside and drawing talent to the channel, accessible history, premium drama and critically acclaimed children’s, news and current affairs programming.  

Through its agenda-driving commissions, Channel 5 leads on societal issues from inequality to homelessness and mental health, aiming to tell the story of modern Britain by reflecting the lives of people across the nation.  

In 2018, Channel 5 won its first BAFTA for Cruising with Jane McDonald. The following year, Raped: My Story won best Single Documentary at RTS. In 2020, it won crowned Channel of the Year at the Broadcast Digital Awards and by the RTS. In addition, that year it secured its first ever Grierson award win in the ‘Best Single Documentary – Domestic’ category with Suicidal: In Our Own Words. In 2021, it won best factual entertainment at the Broadcast Awards for Springtime on the Farm. It also won best drama at Voice of the Listener & Viewer for All Creatures Great and Small the same year. 

About ITN Productions:

ITN is an independent production company with over 67 years’ experience in public service broadcasting and is renowned for being able to deliver journalism of the highest standard across all output. ITN Productions is one of seven distinct divisions at ITN, creating award-winning factual content for major brands, digital platforms and global streamers including Netflix and Amazon and international broadcasters, and most recently produced the company’s first feature length drama for Lifetime A+E. 

ITN’s other business is made up of - Business, Education, Newsrooms (ITV News, Channel 4 News and 5 News), Commercial production teams, and Sport – with output ranging from Oscar-nominated documentaries; a vast live sport operation; award-winning news programmes for ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5; education programming; shortform content and hybrid events for charities and businesses; while ITN’s 60-edit suite facility supports every facet of video and audio post-production. In addition, the ITN Archive features more than a million video clips of iconic news footage from ITN’s first broadcasts in 1955 to the present day.    

Press Contacts