Holiday blues..? Catch Joanna’s adventures

Tuesday: Joanna Lumley’s Unseen Adventures; (ITV, 9pm)

By The Newsroom
Monday, 27th July 2020, 5:00 pm
Joanna Lumley at her home in London
Joanna Lumley at her home in London

What have you missed during lockdown?

According to a recent survey, most Brits have longed to see friends and family, while others have pined for a trip down the pub or to a restaurant.

However, it’s being prevented from going on holiday that has taken its toll on Joanna Lumley.

Joanna Lumley starts her journey in the Far East on the frozen Japanese sea of Okhotsk

“I have missed travelling so much,” the 74-year-old jet-setting actress, presenter, author, former model and activist says.

“I’ve been lucky enough to visit some incredible places over the years. Travel is my passion, it’s in my blood.”

Although she has been grounded for the last few months, the lockdown has given Joanna a welcome chance to go back over some of her previous trips.

And the result is this new three-part series in which she shares previously unseen bits from her travelling adventures.

Joanna heads as far east as Japan and west to Cuba to share her stories and give viewers an insight into how her travel programmes are made.

“What you eventually see on your screen takes weeks to shoot and months to edit and we didn’t always have time to show you everything we filmed,” she explains.

“We have kept the unseen stories safe and now I can reveal this treasure trove.”

In the first instalment, we see Joanna explore the incredible islands of Japan, before jumping on board the Trans-Siberian Railway into Russia.

“Japan was a country that had intrigued me for a very long time and I was very excited about going there in 2016,” she says. “It proved to be a fascinating place.”

After starting her journey in the frozen sea of Okhotsk, she recalls the challenge of filming the opening sequence of the series, on the slippery ice-incrusted deck of the boat in howling wind.

As she gets behind the wheel of a Japanese car, Joanna shares the joy of the futuristic lavatories.

She is delighted to experience a festival celebrating the fire god Kangutusuchi, but slightly less keen on the health and safety arrangements as flaming sticks are swung around just metres from the crowds.

In March 2007, a tsunami at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant resulted in catastrophic meltdowns, and when Joanna visited the area it had been an exclusion zone for over five years.

She meets some of the animals that were abandoned there and the man that stayed behind to care for them.

Joanna visits the snowy hills of Nagano, famous for its boiling hot natural spa waters, and in Kyoto, she speaks to a fascinating Maiko girl during the much-heralded cherry blossom season.

Next, we go all the way back to 2014 and the Trans-Siberian series.

Joanna lived in Hong Kong as a small child while her father was on duty with the Gurkhas, so with the current news headlines about the city, Joanna’s memories feel more poignant than ever.

From there, Joanna begins her journey to mainland China, recalling her time in Beijing when she battled the midday sun to visit the former residence of the Emperor of China before meeting the Editor of Chinese Vogue magazine.

In 2014, Mongolia was just finding its political feet, and Joanna visited a local TV news station in the capital IIan Bator, before meeting the man behind the colossal nearby statue of Gengis Khan.

Joanna experienced the biting chill and beauty of a Siberian winter and travelled to Lake Baikal, the biggest freshwater lake in the world, to help feed the cutest seals imaginable.

Despite travelling to these far-flung places, lockdown has taken its toll on Joanna’s air miles and she is now looking a bit closer to home for her next adventure.

“Actually, I would like to see more of the UK,” she admits.

“What a fabulous country we live in and what a history and mix of people we have. All the things we have here, we are incredibly lucky.”

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