Michael Palin in Nigeria, 30 April 2024, Channel 5, “Episode 3”

Channel 5

In the third and final episode of his Nigerian journey, Michael Palin ventures south toward the historic city of Benin, navigating the country’s notoriously treacherous roads. The trip begins with a sense of unease as his vehicle diverges from a congested route, passing through an area known for bandit attacks.

Upon reaching Benin, Michael encounters a statue commemorating the ‘Raid on Benin’ in 1897, where British forces massacred local warriors and looted thousands of bronze artifacts, now displayed in the British Museum. This controversial chapter in history sparks discussions about the ongoing campaign for the artifacts’ return to Nigeria.

Michael explores Benin’s present and future, visiting Igun Street to admire the beautiful bronze statues crafted by local artisans who also advocate for the repatriation of their ancient cultural treasures. A traditional Nigerian meal of Jollof rice fuels Michael’s journey into the Niger Delta, where he and his team face the challenge of navigating muddy roads en route to the town of Abraka.

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The stunning River Ethiope serves as a backdrop for Michael’s conversation with Nigerian filmmaker Chuko Esiri, who draws inspiration from the region’s natural beauty. Michael also engages with a local palm oil producer, delving into the controversial yet lucrative palm oil industry.

Continuing his exploration, Michael travels to Port Harcourt, the oil-producing heartland of Nigeria. Here, he witnesses the devastating effects of an illegal oil refinery explosion that claimed lives and polluted local river systems. The journey back to Lagos culminates in a memorable experience as Michael gains exclusive access to one of Nigeria’s Pentecostal ‘megachurches’.

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Attending the ‘Holy Ghost’ service at ‘The Redemption City of God’, Michael finds himself amid a community of over 5,000 houses surrounding the vast church. The monthly service attracts up to a million worshippers, and Michael is immersed in an atmosphere of euphoria and excitement, unlike anything he has ever encountered.

The episode concludes with Michael reflecting on his extraordinary journey through Nigeria, highlighting the country’s diverse culture, history, and the resilience of its people.

Michael Palin in Nigeria Series Final airs on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, at 9:00 PM on Channel 5.

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Isabelle aka Izzy Jacobs is the UK previews specialist at memorabletv.com. Isabelle is particularly drawn to crime dramas, but she also has a not so secret love for all things reality TV. In addition to her work at memorabletv.com, Isabelle is also an avid traveler and a devoted foodie.