Michael Portillo: Railway series is more about life off trains than on them

The former cabinet minister is back on TV with Great Asian Railway Journeys.

Michael Portillo has said his railway TV series are more about life off trains than on them.

The former cabinet minister’s new programme, Great Asian Railway Journeys, looks at colonial history.

Previous shows include Great British Railway Journeys, Great Continental Railway Journeys and Great American Railroad Journeys.

Great Asian Railway Journeys (Michael Portillo with his guide, Peach, in Bangkok
Michael Portillo with his guide, Peach, in Bangkok (BBC/ Boundless/Fremantle)

Portillo said: “A lot of people, just because of the title, think the programmes are about trains – and they’re not.

“They’re about history and they’re about culture – the train is our vehicle.

“So I say, ‘No, it’s not about being on trains, it’s about getting off trains’. And you need to be constantly moving forwards, so you’ve got new places to get off the train.”

Portillo visits Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in the series.

Great Asian Railway journeys starts on BBC Two on Monday January 27.

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