Michael Palin’s travel series “The New Europe” starts Monday

This coming Monday Michael Palin’s new seven-show travel series, “The New Europe” starts on The Travel Channel. He’s taking the TV audience through “post communist” Europe to highlight the natural beauty, history and culture of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Hungary, and Bosnia among several others in Eastern and Central Europe (20 in all), many that were behind the Iron Curtain when he was growing up in Great Britain.

There’s an interview with Palin at World Hum about the series. David Farley’s questions brought out an intriguing look into what thoughts go into a travel series in the first place–including the name of it.

“The New Europe” stuck for this series title, even though it’s a term coined by Donald Rumsfeld, of all people. I wonder if Donald Rumsfeld has a travel series in his future.? Or if people are looking for a catchy title they could call him up for his wordsmith magic.” To be clear, the name of the series and the fact that Donald Rumsfeld called this part of the world “the new Europe” while he was U.S. Secretary of Defense is purely coincidental. They have nothing to do with each other, but in the interview with Palin, Farley included the show’s reaction to the sameness and the decision to keep the name anyway.

When deciding what to include and what not to include in an episode, the balance between what will make for an interesting show and what the country’s reaction to its portrayal are taken into consideration. For example, the idea is to show the scope of the region so countries are not necessarily highlighted for the same reason. In summary, people from one country may look at the depiction of another country as having gorgeous scenery, but not that aspect of the their own and feel slighted. It’s heck to be an editor. Someone is bound to feel slighted.

In the Farley’s interview Palin also muses about the difference between Americans’ and Europeans’ ideas about travel and what draws him around the world. The series that airs at 8 p.m. looks like one that won’t disappoint– and I certainly recommend the interview.