The final episode of Michael’s journey, he encounters the rich diversity of European and Asian cultures that create the melting pot of the Brazilian south. In the postcard town of Parati, in the forests of the Mata Atlantica, Michael Palin meets up with Prince Joao de Braganza, heir to the now-defunct throne of Brazil.
He argues that the Portuguese court, after their escape from Napoleon’s occupation, helped establish the institutions that have made Brazil’s economy flourish. Michael meets the stars of Brazilian soap operas, called Telenovellas, which dominate the media landscape. Recent instalments tackle issues of poverty alongside racy love triangles.
Leaving the beauty and serenity of the Pantanal, Michael comes to his journey’s end at the magnificent Iguazu falls, where he concludes that Brazil has much to offer the world as it takes its place as a new superpower.
Brazil with Michael Palin – Saturday at 8pm on BBC Four