National Geographic Premieres North Korea From The Inside With Michael Palin

Acquired From ITN Productions, Critically Acclaimed UK Documentary Special Features Inside Access to North Korea, One of the Most Closed-Off Countries in the World

Filming Coincided with Historic Meeting with North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in

(WASHINGTON, D.C. / LONDON – 26 September 2018)  National Geographic premieres North Korea from the Inside with Michael Palin, a two-hour documentary special that features inside access to one of the most closed off countries in the world, on Sunday, September 30 at 9/8c. Hosted by Monty Python actor and British travel documentarian Michael Palin, North Korea from the Inside travels more than 1,300 miles across the enigmatic nation to interact with citizens from all walks of life. Filming coincided with the historic meeting of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, providing viewers a rare opportunity to witness the occasion through the eyes of the North Korean people. National Geographic acquired North Korea from the Inside with Michael Palin from UK production company ITN Productions.

Critically acclaimed when it first debuted in the UK, North Korea from the Inside with Michael Palin reveals sites and locations rarely, if ever, explored before while showing citizens from all walks of life and witnessing the country’s extraordinary annual May Day celebrations. Palin, a veteran travel presenter who has visited countless countries around the globe, has described his experience as “the most revealing journey of my life”.

The team covered more than 1,300 miles from south to north of the country, from discovering everyday life for the population in the capital Pyongyang to exploring Mount Paektu and visiting a brand new tourist resort being built in Wonsan. After two years of planning and a series of complex high-level negotiations, granting extraordinary access, Palin and the crew from ITN Productions were able to experience North Korea in a way that few Westerners have ever been able to previously.

Michael Palin said: “To visit North Korea was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. For somewhere that is so often in the forefront of the news, it remains a complete mystery to most of us. That we were able to travel across the country and get some sense of everyday life was enormously exciting. The visit was an eye-opener for me, and I’m sure it will be the same for others. In all my travels around the world I have never had the same sense of fascination and revelation as on this journey to North Korea.”

Will Smith, Head of Factual, ITN Productions said: “We are thrilled to have worked with Michael Palin on this project which has taken two years to come to fruition. Given the constantly shifting political landscape between North Korea and the rest of the world this insight into life for ordinary people in what is often dubbed a “hermit kingdom” could not be more relevant.”

North Korea from the Inside with Michael Palin was first commissioned by Channel 5 and is produced by ITN Productions.

Productions credits:

  • Exec producer: Will Smith, Head of Factual, ITN Productions
  • Producer / Director: Neil Ferguson, FOMO Films
  • Production Manager: Emma Wood, ITN Productions
  • Head of Production: Elaine Morris, ITN Productions


About ITN Productions:

ITN Productions is ITN’s Oscar-nominated, in-house production company producing nonfiction entertainment and current affairs content for UK broadcasters and networks around the world. ITN Productions produces such hit global series and specials as the highly acclaimed new Netflix series, “Drug Lords,” “Killer Instinct with Chris Hansen” (Discovery ID), “Elizabeth” (Channel 5/SBS), “Flight 370: The Missing Links” (DNI), “The Road to Waco” (Smithsonian Channel), and “The Turpin 13: Family Secrets Exposed” (Oxygen Channel). ITN Productions is also the world leader in fast-turnaround documentaries such as “Super Hurricanes” (Science Channel) and “Campus Killer Santa Barbara” (A+E). Observational and factual entertainment programs include “easyJet: Inside the Cockpit” (ITV) and “Going Back Giving Back” (BBC1). In addition to nonfiction programming, ITNP is Britain’s leading independent producer of current affairs, including ITV’s “After the News,” “Dispatches” for Channel 4; and, and live debates such as “The Great British Break-Up?” and “Europe: The Final Debate with Jeremy Paxman” (Channel 4). Since January 2018, ITN Productions has also produced the flagship daily daytime show, “The Wright Stuff,” for Channel 5. Recent awards include an Emmy for “Children of Syria” and two consecutive International Emmys for “Escape From ISIS” and “Children on the Frontline,” as well as a Peabody and two BAFTAS for “Children on the Frontline.” Documentary Watani: My Homeland was nominated for an Oscar in the documentary short category in 2017.


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