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BBC Two commissions docu series ‘Great Indian Railway Journeys’

MUMBAI: BBC Two has commissioned ‘Great Indian Railway Journeys’, a new series from Boundless, part of FremantleMedia UK. This follows ‘Great British Railway Journeys’, ‘Great 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, Portillo will embark on a brand new railway adventure in India through a land of mountains, desert and plains watered by holy rivers.

Published at the height of the British Raj in 1913, Portillo’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, he 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.

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. It introduced me to the new high-tech India too.”

Taking in the 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’.

Head of Boundless West, executive producer John Comerford 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.”

BBC Commissioning Editor Daytime and Peak Alex McLeod said, “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.”