The World’s Most Famous Train
Channel 4 - 8pm
Who's in it?
Ever wanted to travel on the Orient Express, without paying out enough to make your bank balance weep? Then climb aboard for this new documentary…
In a nutshell
Remember when train journeys were romantic? Probably not, unless you’re in your 80s. And some kind of Bulgarian baron. For the rest of us, trains are synonymous not with intrigue and excitement, but with grinding delays, overpriced sarnies, and someone’s headphones providing a tinny rendition of Daft Punk for the whole carriage to savour. (And don’t even get us started on the mocking lie of the very idea of a “Quiet Carriage”…) But the lavish pleasures of the Orient Express can still be savoured, for a price.
This documentary takes us on board the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, the official name of the service, which crosses Europe in the time-honoured fashion of the original service. The train itself is a beauty, made up of genuine carriages from the 1920s, all gleaming mahogany and mosaic floors and plush seating, with restaurant cars serviced by staff in crisp white uniforms. In other words, it’s where rich people of a certain age go to make their Agatha Christie fantasies come true, but without the pesky murder. And thanks to this documentary, you get to go for a ride as well.
What's the verdict?
OK, so this is essentially a giant advertorial for the Orient Express, but whether you think the whole thing is naff or magical, it’ll still be fascinating to see how luxury train travel happens in the 21st Century. Choo choo.