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Michael Portillo embarks on a new adventure in brand new BBC two series: Great Indian Railway Journeys

BBC Two has commissioned Great Indian Railway Journeys, a brand new series from Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK. This follows the success of Great British Railway JourneysGreat Continental Railway Journeys and Great American Railroad Journeys, all presented by Michael Portillo.

With a century-old Bradshaw’s Handbook of Indian, Foreign and Colonial Travel tucked under his arm, Michael will embark on a brand new railway adventure through a land of majestic mountains, scorching desert and plains watered by holy rivers. Published at the height of the British Raj in 1913, Michael’s guidebook will steer him towards ornate palaces and golden temples. He will meet Maharajas and Mughals and ride some of the world’s most exhilarating trains.

Along the way, Michael will discover how imperial railways designed by British engineers inadvertently spread ideas of independence among hundreds of millions of Indians, who today live in the world’s largest democracy.

Michael Portillo commented: “British-built railways in India helped the British to make money and maintain order; and as a by-product served to unite the country, ripe for independence. Exploring the subcontinent by rail today exposed me to its extraordinary vivacity, colour and noise; and introduced me to the new high-tech India too.”

Taking in the extraordinary variety of the Indian landscape, journeys in the series include Amritsar to Shimla, Lucknow to Kolkata, Mysuru to Chennai and Jodhpur to Delhi through India’s famous ‘Golden Triangle’.

John Comerford, Head of Boundless West and Executive Producer said: “We are particularly excited for Michael to be taking to the tracks in Asia for the first time. India offers one of the world’s largest rail networks with some spectacular routes to experience so the railways provide the perfect vehicle with which to explore this captivating country.”

Alex McLeod, BBC Commissioning Editor Daytime & Peak added: “I am so excited for this new adventure in the Great Railway series.  I cannot think of a better companion to explore India’s rich past and exciting present than Michael Portillo.”

BBC have commissioned 4 x 60 minutes of Great Indian Railway Journeys and 2 x 60 minutes of brand new Great Continental Railway Journeys. The ninth series of Great British Railway Journeys (15 x 30 mins) and third series of Great American Railroad Journeys (20 x 30 minutes) are both currently in production. 

Great Indian 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 Autumn 2017. John Comerford is Executive Producer and Alison Kreps is Series Editor.