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Joanna Lumley's Postcards    6 × 30"   
tx    8.30pm    Thursday 20 April 2017    ITV   

Ep 1 – The Egyptian Nile

From her private home study, Joanna looks back on her previous travelogue adventures and gives new insights into her voyages – beginning with her journey along the Nile through Egypt and Sudan. In her first memory, Joanna meets Ramy, her local guide, who takes her to a market in Cairo during Ramadan to try a local delicacy, miswak. From there, she climbs aboard a camel named Charlie Brown to travel to Egypt’s most famous landmark, the pyramids at Giza. Last stop in Egypt has Joanna looking back on her memory of travelling the Nile via a felucca barge with a superstitious captain who believed the river was haunted.  Travelling south into Sudan, Joanna talks of her time in the Nubian Desert and remembers her personal tour of the ancient tomb of Queen Qalhata, filled with fascinating hieroglyphics. Joanna discusses her famous duhkan, a Sudanese beauty treatment, and travels to the home of married woman to partake in the intimate incense bath. Lastly, she meets a local beauty queen and former refugee putting the next Sudanese models through their paces during a temporary country ceasefire.

 

Ep 2 – Greece

 

Joanna takes a journey through her memories of her fabulous travelogue around mainland Greece – both the ancient and the modern. Beginning with Greece’s most famous symbol, Joanna battles her fears and climbs the Acropolis in Athens to get a behind the scenes glimpse at the restoration process. Joanna then heads to a blush inducing fortune telling festival  and climbs into the mountains of Delphi to take in some of the ancient fortune telling fumes. Next, Joanna visits the spectacular ancient theatre, Epidaurus, where world famous singer, Nana Mouskouri, performs a once in a lifetime performance. We meet an extraordinary woman Joanna encountered by chance at an abandoned mountain town - before hearing her story over a shared meal of wild asparagus. The mountain monasteries of Meteora are Joanna’s last stop, a place she remembers as the most spectacular in all of Greece.

 

 

Ep 3 – Russia

 

Joanna takes another look at her gorgeous travelogue adventures – this time she gives a personal insight into her mammoth trek across Russia aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. Having travelled to Moscow as a young model, Joanna recounts her experiences of 1960s Soviet Russia and her expectations when she set off on her return, 50 years later. Beginning with a turbulent border crossing where the crew butts heads with Russian officials, Joanna  tries her hand at the Russian language – before meeting the self-styled ‘Jimi Hendrix of bell ringing’ at the top of a church steeple in Irkutsk. Travelling through the snow covered country, Joanna shares vodka with a fisherman in Lake Baikal and shares slightly more expensive gold-flaked vodka with a Russian Oligarch. The last stop sees Joanna in Moscow, seeing the sights in Red Square, and taking a tour of a nuclear bunker where the button was almost pressed – before coming full circle and recreating her 1960s modelling photoshoot in a Moscow train station.

 

 

Ep 4 – Greek Islands

Joanna takes another look at her inspiring travelogue adventures – this time she gives a personal insight into her odyssey across the Greek archipelago. Having - mistakenly - travelled to Poros as a young model, Joanna revisits the landscape that sparked her love affair with the Greek Islands.

Aboard the 'Christianne B', Joanna learns from her host - shipping magnate Captain Sarkos - why the sea is so vital to the Greek people. On the island of Evia, the villagers of Antia engage Joanna in whistled conversation, and on Kos, we discover how Hippocrates’ holistic vision of healing shaped the way ancient hospitals were built.

Travelling to the isle of Nisyros, Joanna treads carefully over the giant crater of a sleeping volcano, and then sets sail for Crete – the largest and strategically important island – for trade, and for military might. In Anogia, she meets a man who survived the Nazi slaughter of his village, and the descendants of the shepherds who sheltered the Cretan resistance fighters. Finally, Joanna joins the party as Crete’s largest Raki distillery sample their latest vintage.

 

Ep 5 - Trans-Siberian Adventure

Once more Joanna Lumley takes a look down memory lane into her fabulous travelogues – this time she revisits the lands of China and Mongolia aboard the Trans-Siberian Express. Her journey begins in Hong Kong, unrecognisable as one of Joanna's childhood homes, where her father's regiment was stationed. From there Joanna travels to Beijing, where she discovers how China, while Communist, is embracing Capitalism - as she goes for a cruise in a Rolls Royce Silver Wraith through the streets of the capital. From her journals, Joanna remembers the weirdest restaurant she’s visited – a Chairman Mao cabaret – to the ultimate bucket list destination – The Great Wall of China. Joanna walks along the magnificent structure at dawn – a most spectacular sight. Further along the Trans-Siberian railway, Joanna stops off in Mongolia where she stays the night with a nomad family – and tries her hand at milking a horse. From there, she visits a shaman to talk with her ancestors and hears the amazing music of the Mongolian throat singers. Joanna’s final postcard memory sees her given a personal tour of the gigantic steel tribute to Genghis Khan situated in the gorgeous remote landscape.

 

Ep 6 – The African Nile

 

Joanna returns to her adventures travelling to the source of the Nile. In this episode she explores the second source of the Nile: not the widely imagined Egyptian Nile, known as the White Nile, but instead the Blue Nile which rises in Ethiopia. She begins her journey at the vast Lake Tana, observing the 250 mile long canyon carved by the waters. She samples the national dish, a savoury pancake known as ‘injera’, and attends an early morning service at one of the many monasteries found of the islands of Laka Tana. Joanna is surprised to learn that the patron saint of Ethiopia is actually Saint George – England’s very own! Vast numbers of Ethiopians make pilgrimages to Gish Abay Church at the source of the Blue Nile where the scared waters are believed to have powers of healing. Here Joanna is blessed with water from the Nile, and is unexpectedly baptised, after which she travels high into the Simian mountains. On safari in Uganda, Joanna encounters shoebills, hippos, rhinos and crocodiles. And in Rwanda Joanna treks through the dense undergrowth and squelching mud to the furthest source of the Nile where she releases a little wooden figurine, hoping it will sail its way the length of the Nile right out to the sea.