Around the World in 80 Days is a period drama adventure television series based on the 1873 Jules Verne novel of the same name, in which, as a bet, Phileas Fogg travels the world in 80 days by train and ship. It was commissioned by the European Alliance, a co-production alliance of France Télévisions, ZDF of Germany, and RAI of Italy, with additional co-production partners of Masterpiece (US) and Be-Films/RTBF (Belgium). It was produced in the UK, France and South Africa, with filming also taking place in Romania. The series first premiered on La Une in Belgium, on 5 December 2021, and later on BBC One in the United Kingdom on 26 December 2021. In November 2021, ahead of the premiere, it was announced the programme had been renewed for a second series.
|Around the World in 80 Days|
|Based on||Around the World in Eighty Days|
by Jules Verne
|Composers||Hans Zimmer |
|Country of origin|
|No. of series||1|
|No. of episodes||8 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||48 minutes|
|Picture format||2:1 1080p|
|Original release||5 December 2021 –|
The story is about Phileas Fogg making a £20,000 (£2,409,600 in 2022) wager with a snobbish member of the prestigious Reform Club that he can circumnavigate the world in 80 days, joined by his new valet Passepartout and journalist Abigail Fix. Although the story is fictional, real-life people such as Adolphe Thiers, Jane Digby and Bass Reeves are portrayed interacting with the fictional characters.
- David Tennant as Phileas Fogg
- Ibrahim Koma as Jean Passepartout
- Leonie Benesch as Abigail Fix Fortescue
- Jason Watkins as Bernard Fortescue, Abigail's father and Fogg's friend
- Peter Sullivan as Nyle Bellamy, Fogg's rival
- Richard Wilson as Grayson, Fogg's butler
- Leon Clingman as Roberts, maitre d'hôtel at Reform Club
- Anthony Flanagan as Thomas Kneedling, Bellamy's henchman
- Jeff Rawle as Hughes, Bank manager in London
- David Sherwood as Samuel Fallentin, a Reform Club member
- Loic Djani as Gérard, Passpartout's brother
- André Penvern as Monsieur Lome, inventor of a balloon
- Alain Guillo as Adolphe Thiers, President of France
- Christine Brücher as Sister Catherine, a French nun
- Karina Ziana Gherasim as Urchin girl in Paris
- Stefan Burlacu as Urchin boy in Paris
- Geo Dobre as Chief of Police in Paris
- Tache Florescu as Senior Police officer in Paris
- Masali Baduza as Edith, employee at the Reform club
- Luyanda Kabanyane as sous-chef at Reform club
- Paul Snodgrass as Ostler, employee at the Daily Telegraph
- Giovanni Scifoni as Niccolò Moretti, an Italian industrialist
- Cristian De Vergori as Alberto Moretti, Niccolò's son
- Simone Coppo as Marco, conductor of the train Turin - Brindisi
- Alexandru Bindea as train driver
- Doru Catanescu as train stoker
- Cristian Popa as Fazi, an Italian man travelling in 1st class
- Aida Economu as Eva, Fazi's wife
- Ilinca Hărnuț as an Italian mother travelling in 3rd class
- Riccardo Blanda as Italian mother's son #1
- Costin Toma as Italian mother's son #2
- Lindsay Duncan as Jane Digby, an Englishwoman
- Faical Elkihel as Sheik Medjuel El Mezjuel Mezrab, Jane's husband
- Raees Mohammed as Arab Trader
- Florin Galan as steward on the ship Brindisi-Aden
- Ambrose Uren as Muhammad Nuwas, Fogg's guide across the Empty Quarter
- Hein de Vries as waiter at Al Hudaydah's café
- Shivaani Ghai as Aouda, an Indian woman
- Rizelle Januk as Samanaz, Aouda's older daughter
- Kiroshan Naidoo as Arjan, Samanaz' future husband
- Reeya Gangen as Noori, Aouda's younger daughter
- Charlie Hamblett as Lieutenant Bathurst, a British officer in the Indian Army
- Patrick Kennedy as Sir Henry Rowbotham, British Governor in Hong Kong
- Victoria Smurfit as Lady Clemency Rowbotham, Sir Henry's wife
- Thomas Chaanhing as Jiang Liei, Passpartout's former boss in Hong Kong
- Walter van Dyk as Lord Crossley, chief magistrate of Hong Kong
- Bart Fouche as Peter Donaldson, chief of Hong Kong's police
- Nicky Rebelo as Anderson, Sir Henry's butler
- Susan Danford as Mrs. Hildreth, Lady Clemency's friend
- Sven Ruygrok as bank clerk
- Sean Cameron Michael as chief bank manager
- Sandra Pow Chong as Tanka Woman
- Bryan Jardine as officer in the ship Hong Kong - Yokohama
- Brett Williams as Foreign Office officer in London
- Robert Coutts as Singing Reform Club Member #1
- Evan Hengst as Singing Reform Club Member #2
- Gordon van der Spuy as Singing Reform Club Member #3
- Gary Beadle as Bass Reeves, US Deputy Marshal
- John Light as Ambrose Abernathy, ex confederate colonel and Ku Klux Klan member
- Elena Saurel as Sally, the stagecoach's driver
- Eduard Bartha as the second stage coach's driver
- Oliver J. Hemborough as Robinson, a Ku Klux Klan member
- Paul Budeanu as Davis, a Ku Klux Klan member
- Bogdan Farcaș as barman in Battle Mountain
- Robert G. Slade as telegraph Operator in Battle Mountain
- Andrew Luke as station master in Battle Mountain
- Michael Elkin as bailiff in London
- Reza Diako as New York Times Journalist
- Dolly Wells as Estella, Fogg's former love
- Dominic Carter as the customs officer in Liverpool
- Ty Tennant as the gang leader in New York
- Ionuț Grama as officer in the ship New York - Liverpool
- James Dutton as Henry, the arrogant man on the ship
- George Birsman as second arrogant man on the ship
- Dorothea Myer-Bennett as arrogant woman on the ship
|No.||Episode||Directed by||Written by||Original UK air date||UK viewers|
|1||Episode 1||Steve Barron||Ashley Pharoah and Caleb Ranson||26 December 2021||5.89|
|Phileas Fogg is a man of routine, spending his every day at the Reform Club reading his newspaper and eating the same meal. When he reads an article by Abigail Fix Fortescue about how a new railroad in India now allows the world to be traveled around in 80 days, he is reminded of a postcard he received only reading "coward". His rival Nyle Bellamy goads him into declaring that he will undertake this journey, betting 20,000 pounds that he will return by Christmas Eve. Together with French servant Jean Passepartout, he embarks on the journey to France with Abigail following them to report on his travels for her father's newspaper. In France, while unable to board the train to Turin, Fogg inadvertently foils an assassination attempt by rebels of the Paris Commune led by Passepartout's brother on the President of France, Adolphe Thiers and is forced to flee with his companions on a hot air balloon.|
|2||Episode 2||Steve Barron||Ashley Pharoah|
Story by : Caleb Ranson
|26 December 2021||5.41|
|Crossed the Alps on the balloon, Fogg and his party land near Florence and hail a train going to Brindisi in order to catch a boat to Egypt. During the journey, Fogg befriends Alberto, the son of industrialist Niccolò Moretti, with whom he shares an interest for mechanical and technological inventions. When the train has to stop abruptly two hours from Brindisi because a part of a bridge was missing, Alberto is injured and in critical condition. Too far away from the next hospital in Rome, Fogg convinces Moretti that he can safely guide the engine and one carriage over the rails still in place despite the gap in the bridge. The train successfully crosses the gap and, using the carriage's wood as fuel, they arrive in Brindisi in time to save Alberto. Fogg and his companions continue to Aden via the Suez Canal.|
|3||Episode 3||Steve Barron||Ashley Pharoah||2 January 2022||5.21|
|Forced to stop in Al Hudaydah, Fogg is tricked by a local who claims he can safely guide them across the desert to Aden. Believing the desert to be very dangerous for women, he and Passepartout decide to leave Abigail behind. When the local leaves them stranded in the desert, they are rescued by Jane Digby and her husband, who Abigail had persuaded to give help. Initially reluctant to take them to Aden, they agree to help after the group helps them fend off some raiders, with Passepartout shooting one of them trying to abduct Abigail. In Aden, Mr. Kneedling, a man paid by Bellamy, tries to bribe Passepartout to slow Fogg down by giving him something he claims will make him sleep for a few days.|
|4||Episode 4||Steve Barron||Ashley Pharoah, Claire Downes, Ian Jarvis and Stuart Lane||2 January 2022||4.69|
|Stranded in an Indian village after the railroad Abigail wrote about turned out to be still incomplete, the group agree to stay for the night because of a wedding. When the groom is taken into custody as a deserter of the British Indian Army, the bride's mother, Aouda, tells Fogg she will only provide a guide if he convinces the army's young lieutenant to release the groom. He invites the lieutenant to tea but unbeknownst to him, Passepartout had spiked his tea with the drugs he received in Aden, making Fogg delirious. Mistaking Abigail for his former love Estella, he bares his heart to her, which Abigail writes in her next article. The next day, Fogg reluctantly speaks for the groom at his court martial and manages to convince the lieutenant to dishonorably discharge him by making an uncharacteristically rousing speech about the power of love.|
|5||Episode 5||Brian Kelly||Ashley Pharoah and Jessica Ruston|
Story by : Debbie O'Malley
|9 January 2022||5.09|
|In the British colony of Hong Kong, Fogg and his companions are invited by the governor's wife to a party in his honor, having read about his exploits in Abigail's reports. After Kneedling had convinced the bank to withhold Fogg's money, claiming he was a wanted criminal, Fogg tries to use the party to convince the governor to lend him the money needed to travel to Japan. Meanwhile, Passepartout visits an old acquaintance who promises him the needed funds if he steals a priceless white jade artifact from the governor's wife. Fogg leaves the party after finding out Abigail wrote about his past without her knowing and Passepartout steals the artifact. Informed by the bank manager about the claims that Fogg is a criminal, the governor orders his arrest when the money Passepartout was paid is found under his bed. Protesting his innocence, Fogg is to be flogged to make him talk. Abigail and Passepartout manage to secure his release from the governor but fail to get it to the square in time to save him completely from the lash.|
|6||Episode 6||Steve Barron||Peter McKenna||16 January 2022||5.36|
|Having failed so far to stop Fogg by other means, Kneedling forces him and his group on their journey to Yokohama into a lifeboat and leaves them in the water at night. They strand on an uninhabited island off the Japanese coast. Fogg tells Abigail about Estella, confessing that he left her to sail to the United States alone after running away from their planned trip around the world at the last minute and regretting it ever since. After Passepartout confesses what he did, Fogg orders him away. To repay Fogg, Passepartout builds a raft by night in the rain, ending up sick. Fogg and Abigail tend to him, burning the raft for firewood to keep him warm. They are rescued by a passing British steamer on its way to the United States.|
|7||Episode 7||Charles Beeson||Stephen Greenhorn||23 January 2022||5.57|
|Traveling by stage coach from San Francisco to the next train station going east, the group is forced to allow US Deputy Marshall Bass Reeves, escorting a Southern war criminal and Klan member to stand trial in Louisiana, to ride with them. Arriving in Battle Mountain, the captive's cronies try to rescue him but are thwarted by Abigail riding her horse into the saloon and shooting two of the criminals. Meanwhile in England, Bellamy, using the news of Fogg's death at sea and facing bankruptcy, tries to pressure Fortescue into releasing Fogg's money as the executor of his will but fails when Fortescue receives Abigail's telegram that they are still alive and heading to New York City.|
|8||Episode 8||Steve Barron||Ashley Pharoah||30 January 2022||6.07|
|In New York, Fogg realizes that the postcard he received depicts the Grand Central Depot and that Estella must have sent it. After already boarding a ship back home, he decides to return to the station. Estella appears as he is ready to leave and they share their life stories. Confirming that Bellamy tried to put him down even back when they were about to leave, she encourages him to complete his journey. On his way back to the ship, he is stopped by Kneedling, but manages to return when they are attacked by a street gang and fend them off. The dying Kneedling gives Fogg proof that he was trying to sabotage his trip. Back in England, Fogg is detained because the arrest warrant from Hong Kong had not been rescinded and he is left in his cell until the next day, thinking he lost the bet. Returning home dejected, his butler informs him that today is Christmas Eve, since his travel only took 79 days by going east. He hurries back to the Reform Club to arrive at the last second to win his bet. Fogg stands up to Bellamy who leaves in disgrace while the team celebrates their victory. Initially happy to be back home in London, the team is almost immediately inspired to set out on another adventure, and set out to investigate a newspaper's story about a mysterious sea monster attacking ships at sea, a possible allusion to events depicted in Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.|
Filming locations included South Africa and Romania. Filming was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but resumed on 1 October that year. In November 2021, ahead of the premiere, it was announced the series had been renewed for a second series. The main title score is by Hans Zimmer and Christian Lundberg.
Around the World in 80 Days first premiered in Belgium on 5 December 2021. ZDF released the complete series online in Germany on 11 December 2021, with an on-air release from 21 December to 23 December. The series premiered on France 2 in France on 20 December 2021, and in Norway on NRKs streaming website on 25 December 2021, with linear broadcasting the following days during Boxing Week. In the United Kingdom the series premiered on BBC One on 26 December 2021, and on Masterpiece for PBS in the United States on 2 January 2022.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 79% approval rating with an average rating of 6.4/10, based on 14 reviews. The website's critical consensus reads, "Around the World in 80 Days sometimes stumbles when it tries to add modern resonance to Jules Verne's globetrotting epic, but the core cast make for terrific travel companions." Metacritic gave the series a weighted average score of 61 out of 100 based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews". Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian gave it four out five stars, praising its cast, production values and escapism, but found the first episode slow in its setup. The Telegraph gave it three out of five stars. Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter felt the plot did not justify eight episodes, but praised Tennant's performance.
Ed Cumming of The Independent gave it two stars, feeling the budget did not do the epic scope of the novel justice. James Delingpole in The Spectator also gave a negative review of the series, complaining about its attempts to speak to contemporary political issues (though the original novel was also inspired by topical subjects of its own day, such as rapid technological progress and the growing travel industry). He criticized the updated characteristics of Fix and Passepartout, as well as inconsistencies such as Passepartout's lack of upset at the death of his brother.
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- ^ "Around the World in 80 Days review – David Tennant channels a Victorian Jeff Bezos". TheGuardian.com. 26 December 2021.
- ^ Singh, Anita (26 December 2021). "Around the World in 80 Days, episodes 1 and 2 review: A fun story that needed far fewer changes". The Telegraph.
- ^ "PBS' 'Around the World in 80 Days': TV Review". The Hollywood Reporter. 31 December 2021.
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