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Video: The naked pilgrim (must see)


Staff member
This is a 5 series program, I found the first 4 chapters on GoogleVideo but I am missing the last, 5th episode.... anyway, the first 4 are well worth a look. The full DVD can be bought on Amazon.

From Google video: The first part of the wonderful Channel Five series with art critic Brian Sewell going on the Catholic pilgrimage to Santiago de ... all » Compostela. What makes it so very watchable and moving is how lapsed Catholic Brian comes to question his loss of faith.
[googlevideo]<embed style="width:400px; height:326px;" id="VideoPlayback" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="" flashvars=""> </embed>[/googlevideo]

UPDATED 14th December 2007: I deleted the links to part 2,3 and 4 in this post since I received the following e-mail today:

Hi Ivar

You have an unauthorised copy of our series 'The Naked Pilgrim' available to view on your website. As you know, this is in breach of copyright law.

I'm happy for you leave up the first to give your members an idea of what the series is about but please remove the rest.

Maybe we can offer your members a special discount if they want to buy the DVD directly from us. Send me an email if you'd like to set something up.



Update 2 (December 14th 2007):

About the discount:

The DVD's retail price is £9.99 but we'll give your members a 25% discount (£7.49). Your members should email us for more details: They need to quote your website name to get the discount.

The DVD is only available in PAL region 0.

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I actually found Brian's account of his visit to Lourdes interesting. We share the 'lapsed Catholic' tag, and I visited Lourdes last year, but for several days. Brian seems to have gone straight to the Grotto and hated it. I took about three days to get to the Grotto, as it seemed like the 'holy of holies' where I never really belonged. In the end I went there to place a prayer for someone who was gravely ill. Like Brian, I also found it a bit strange and more than a bit off-putting in the Grotto with someone barking at people to hurry along.

But other aspects of my "Grotto" experience differed from his, mainly as I had more time. I had spent quite a number of hours on the other side of the river from the Grotto, just sitting quietly, listening and watching. In the daytime I had heard the sounds from Masses and prayers in the Grotto, and as people were lowered in the nearby pools. And as night fell, I had watched the huge number of candles lighting up the darkness. Also, I had gone back to the Grotto one evening with a Kiwi I had met, at a time when most of the French were eating their evening meal. Then it was quiet and not rushed, and I was able to pray a little as I walked through. My time at Lourdes has given this 'lapsed Catholic' a lot to reflect on, though I remain, 'lapsed'.

I know it is 'off topic' in Camino terms, but I wrote some reflections about my visit to Lourdes that might interest some. Plus there is my 'diary' of what I did there for several days.

Meanwhile.... I am wishing I could find out what happened to Brian once he travels on the Spanish part of the Camino....


New Member
I've just watched the beginning of part one and it seems rather promising.
But is he right when he mentions (at about 4:45) that he will be considered a "proper pilgrim" if he does the last 50 miles on horseback? I don't know if there are any criteria to determine whether one is a "proper pilgrim". As we know there are conditions however for obtaining the Compostela and I believe it was 200 km on horseback whereas 50 miles would be about 80 km.
Can't wait to see him arrive at Santiago. I'll watch some more...


Active Member
Unless someone can find the additional segments we won't see him arrive in Santiago. With the four that we have, and that is all that goggle has also, he doesn't even get out of France. Since he is doing his pilgrimage by Mercedes you would think he could go a little faster. :twisted:
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brendan nolan

Active Member
Hi Ivar,
Thanks for posting 'The Naked Pilgrim' which was first shown on UK Tv. I would recommend everyone to see it.
We often concentrate on the physical aspects of the Pilgrimage, and while the spiritual is mentioned we rarely get to see the effects on another pilgrim. Bearing in mind that a long pilgrimage often produces a fairly immediate emotional response my reaction, and that of others, having followed his Pilgrimage, was that Brian Sewell experienced a tremendous spiritual pilgrimage in which others were able to share. The final part of the series is a must.
Thanks again,
Hi Kiwinomad,
You added on the side trip to Lourdes:
"Like Brian, I also found it a bit strange and more than a bit off-putting in the Grotto with someone barking at people to hurry along"

A bit off topic but I first read in the Readers Digest 56 years ago as a 12 years of the dipping into the water in Lourdes of the critical and terminally ill people, who left behind in the water all their cares, frustations, grieviances, and were then prepared to face the inevitable in a calm and peaceful manner. It took me half a century to finally see this and it left a deep impression on me.

A bigger impression was the sight of the queues of sick and bedridden in the mobile stretcher and wheelchairs being pushed by high school students (that year the students were from Leeds, they do it biannually?)into the Grotto, and to the procession afterwards. There were Grotto traffic managers and the gentleness shown by them in getting the queue of sick to be pushed into the Grotto in an orderly manner, and allowed to linger to touch the rock face, even some to touch the wetness and bring it to their lips, was a moving moment. They did hurry us along, then stopped us briefly to allow the mobile stretchers and wheelchairs to go in first, then shooed us along, we never felt intimidated although the foreign language spoken sounded like barking.

A bit off topic still (lapsed Catholics?) but the sight of the sick and bedridden who emerged from the rows of multi-lingual confession boxes at Lourdes after their off-loading of the lifelong "sins" to the priests was a sight to behold. It was as if they had attained a new life, and could face the short future ahead of them as a new person. We would never know if the priest told them to do the Camino as a penance.


New Member
It's actually a 6 part series. In the 5th episode he stops include Leon and Burgos. Episode 6 is the best of the series - it's all in Santiago de Compostela and he arrives for the Feast Day. Has a very moving ending. Try and find a copy!


Staff member
I received an e-mail from the head of production at WAG TV today. See the first post at the top for more details.

They did not like the fact that so much of the DVD was posted for free and asked me to take it down, so I did (although I guess it is still available on Google Video). They hinted towards giving us a discount if we would like to buy the DVD. When I know more about that I will post it here.

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Staff member
I heard back from WAG TV about the discount.

Everyone reading this forum will be getting 25% off the price of this DVD. For instructions, please see the first post (at the top of this page).



Active Member
ivar said:
What makes it so very watchable and moving is how lapsed Catholic Brian comes to question his loss of faith.

That, along with his aristocratic English accent and droll/blunt sense of humor. The first episode is quite funny - I visited the places he was at in Paris after my pilgrimage, and I can dig his critiques (he certainly doesn't sugarcoat his opinions)...although I still thought those sites were amazing in their own way... :arrow:


Staff member
but not on Amazon US
I think this is because it is in the PAL (European) format and also that it is "programmed" to only work in Region 0 DVD players (Europe).

There are ways around this, but legally I think it is only supposed to work in Europe :-(


Couple of things here

Region 0 is "region-free", ie it will work anywhere. (Europe is Region 2)

I don't think the PAL the publishers mention will be a problem either. The UK and many other countries use PAL, the US works on NTSC, and France has gone its own way and uses a third system, SECAM. I don't know what the these stand for, but it is a method of presenting the TV pictures. Those with longish memories may remember that colour French VHS cassettes would only replay in the UK in black & white, but French DVDs work fine in the UK, without any problems despite the SECAM/PAL difference.

Hope that helps.

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Staff member
Region 0 is "region-free", ie it will work anywhere. (Europe is Region 2)
My mistake, you are right.

Regarding the PAL issue, I know it used to be a problem where you could not play a PAL tape on a NTSC video player (Having lived in the USA I know that this does not work), but with the latest generation DVD players and TV's I am not sure if this has changed. If PAL works outside Europe, I guess it comes down to some extra shipping cost if someone outside Europe would like to order it.


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