Following the recent success of Great Indian Railway Journeys, BBC Two has commissioned Great Australian Railway Journeys (w/t), a brand-new series from Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK. Other programmes in the hugely popular series include Great British Railway Journeys, Great Continental Railway Journeys and Great American Railroad Journeys, all presented by Michael Portillo.
Armed with his 1913 Bradshaw’s Handbook to the Chief Cities of the World, Michael will embark on six new railway journeys across spectacular Australia.
Known for its natural wonders and vast open spaces, Michael will explore the continent’s monumental landscapes by riding some of the longest passenger trains and the steepest railway in the world. Equipped with an array of characteristically colourful outfits, Michael will climb blue mountains, cross red desert and green plains, swim above coral reefs and walk on golden sands.
Along the way, Michael will explore Australian culture and its dazzling cities from the iconic harbour-front metropolis of Sydney to Melbourne’s world-renowned sporting heritage. Going back in time, Michael will investigate the gold, silver, coal and wool on which this nation was built and discover how, little more than a century ago, Britain established a penal colony on lands inhabited by Aboriginal Australians for tens of thousands of years.’
Michael Portillo commented: “Australia is a wonderful country to explore by train, offering epic journeys across the continent on the Indian-Pacific and Ghan railways. With my 1913 guidebook I investigate convicts, koalas, kangaroos and camels; trace the history of European settlement along
with its impact on the native peoples; and look at the new multi-ethnic Australia coming to terms with its past.”
Travelling just over 9,000 miles across Australia, Michael’s journeys include Canberra to Melbourne, Sydney to Broken Hill, Newcastle to Brisbane, Port Augusta to Darwin, Kuranda to Townsville and Adelaide to Perth.
John Comerford, Head of Boundless West and Executive Producer said: “We are thrilled to be taking Great Railway Journeys to Australia. Michael will be embarking on some of the longest and most spectacular rail journeys ever undertaken on the series which will tell the intriguing story of how the railways united the vast new nation after federation in the early twentieth century.”
BBC have commissioned 6 x 60 minutes of Great Australian Railway Journeys. The tenth series of Great British Railway Journeys (15 x 30 mins) and fourth series of Great American Railroad Journeys (20 x 30 minutes) are both currently in production and will air early 2019.
Great Australian Railway Journeys is commissioned by Patrick Holland, Controller BBC Two; Alex McLeod, BBC Commissioning Editor Daytime & Peak. It is a Boundless (part of FremantleMedia UK) production for BBC Two and will air in 2019. John Comerford is Executive Producer and Alison Kreps is Series Editor.