Press Centre

Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure

  • Episode: 

    1 of 4

  • Transmission (TX): 

    Wed 12 Sep 2018
  • TX Confirmed: 

  • Time: 

    9.00pm - 10.00pm
  • Week: 

    Week 37 2018 : Sat 08 Sep - Fri 14 Sep
  • Channel: 

  • Status: 


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Joanna Lumley’s Silk Road Adventure
Series overview
“I’m embarking on a 7000-mile journey following the route of the legendary Silk Road, that throughout history helped spread all manner of foods, inventions and cultures across Asia and most adventurous and exotic journey yet.” Joanna Lumley 
This epic new four-part series is Joanna Lumley’s grandest and most challenging journey yet, a breath-taking odyssey from Venice to the Chinese border along the veins of the ancient Silk Road.
A perilous network of paths, the Silk Road shaped the modern world, bringing silk, printing, spices, gunpowder, and many other things, to the West. Joanna’s adventure will see her travel through a breath-taking array of fabulous landscapes as she crosses continents, deserts, mountains and steppe, boldly following in the footsteps of the merchants, conquerors, kings and pilgrims who once lived and died along this route.
Episode 1
In episode one, Joanna starts her adventure in Venice, the European terminus of the Silk Road where she discovers how the Silk Road helped the merchants of Venice and the city state itself grow rich and powerful. Joanna witnesses first hand evidence of Marco Polo’s silk road booty, and sees how that all-important commodity, silk, cemented Venice’s reputation as a centre of luxury and conspicuous wealth. 
Joanna visits a fabric workshop using silk thread to make some of the finest velvet in the world, costing 5000 euros per metre and supplying The White House, the Kremlin and many world-renowned fashion houses. Watching the highly skilled workers weaving the fabric by hand on looms, Joanna says: “I think that your forefathers, they understood what silk was…today we are ravished by silk but in those days, it must have been like a gift from heaven.”
Her journey then takes her to the Balkan country of Albania, home to the Via Egnatia, which goes from Durres in Albania to Istanbul.
Joanna then travels on to Turkey, starting in Istanbul, a pivotal Silk Road city on the crossroads of Europe and Asia, and then moving on to Cappadocia, where the amazing rock formations create a unique landscape that became both a sanctuary for travellers and the early Christian communities which grew up here. 
Joanna travels by overnight train on a 14-hour journey to the far east of Turkey. In the mountains Joanna visits a village famous for making cheese and as a self-confessed cheese-addict, can’t resist donning a hairnet and rolling up her sleeves to help with production. 
Joanna says: “I just adore cheese. If I didn’t love cheese so much I’d be so thin people would go, ‘Who is that unbelievably thin, old woman?’ But because I eat cheese, they go, ‘Oh there’s Joanna, moving about again’. That’s because I eat cheese. Would I give it up? No!”
Also this week, Joanna heads into the cool, lush highlands close to the Georgian and Armenian borders to meet a local family and see how the traditional herding way of life continues.  
Produced by Burning Bright for ITV.