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On the road in Gibraltar. Left to right: Peter Meakin, Nigel Meakin, Aaton Super 16 XTR Prod (aka 'The Baby'), MP, Roger Mills, Gloria Macedo, Natalia Fernandez, John Pritchard.
Michael Palin - SaharaAcknowledgements

The filming of Sahara lasted a little over four months and covered nearly 10,000 miles. The preparation for the journey and the process of welding it into a series took the best part of a year. No-one had an easy job.

At our home base in London, Anne James steered the boat through choppy waters, from launch to final anchorage, with diligence, energy and enthusiasm. Natalia Fernandez dealt with every detail of our travel plans, which, considering the bureaucratic complications in this part of the world, deserves more than your average respect. Janina Stamps, who set us on the road, and Gina Hobson, who brought us back and saw the programmes to their conclusion, applied skill and experience to some nightmare situations, and Lyn Dougherty rode expertly through the minefields of cash flow.

Paul Bird and Alison Davies at the office helped preserve my sanity, without apparently losing their own, and Alison tucked and tidied the manuscript. Elizabeth Parker wrote music for the series and Bernard Heyes designed our maps and titles. George Foulgham and all the team at VideoLondon made it sound wonderful and the amazing Alex Richardson took on the task of editing all four hours. Though he and his family may be regretting it, I, quite selfishly, am delighted. Nicola Moody at the BBC gave us generous encouragement and great support.

It's impossible to thank everyone who helped us out on the road. Many of those to whom I owe my thanks are mentioned in the text. Of those who are not, but without whom we could never have made such a journey, I must not forget Marie Gloria Macedo, Richard Stanforth, Alan Keohane, Bob Watt, Djadje Ba, Violet Diallo, Barry Halton, Mike Lord and Stirling Security Services, Mr Ahmed Faci, Kahlifa Airways, Simon Khoury at Arab Tours, Judith and Fanta and Tidene Expeditions in Niger.

Our core filming team, whose average age, we were shocked to find, is well into the mid-fifties, were nevertheless a credit to Saga Filming. Nigel Meakin on camera and John Pritchard on sound (and putting anything back together again within five minutes) took to the desert with cool authority. Peter Meakin, apart from bringing the average age of the crew down by a good ten years, loaded, unloaded and shot film in quite horrendous conditions, without ever once complaining. Except when his father wasn't looking.
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  • Series: Sahara
  • Chapter: Introduction
  • Country/sea: England
  • Place: London
  • Book page no: 8

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