Joanna Lumley has revealed that she was ambushed, along with her camera crew, by a group of armed bandits while filming a TV documentary in Haiti. The 73-year-old spoke to the Radio Times about the scary incident, which took place in the middle of filming Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti. "Suddenly there was a blockage across the road, they'd put branches down," she revealed. "Luckily, we had two big bodyguards who got out and said, 'Come on guys, clear this away.' But they went, 'No we want your money or your life.' Sometimes they dig trenches, pour oil in and set fire to it, then they come with guns and take your wallets."
Joanna Lumley has revealed she was ambushed while filming in Haiti
Fortunately, the bandits allowed the group to pass by unscathed, and Joanna continued on with her journey. "I'm not really an afraid kind of person," Joanna explained. "If you look timid, people and animals pick it up very fast. In Haiti, people are so poor and living in such squalor, but if you say 'Bonjour' and put your hand out, you've made friends immediately."
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During her time in Haiti, the Absolutely Fabulous actress also visited the capital of Port-au-Prince, which she described as a "catastrophe". "We arrived on the day of a riot, so we had a police escort to the hotel," she revealed. "Riots break out like wildfires across the land and if you're in that place, you're stuck."
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Joanna further shared her upset at seeing Haiti's children living in poverty "like wild animals". "The country's broken, nothing works. There are unbelievably poor communities," said the star, who has been making travel documentaries for more than ten years. "There were street children sleeping rough, abandoned by their families. But they dreamed of being pilots and lawyers, even though they've got no education. That affects you terribly."
Joanna Lumley's Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti starts Tuesday 10 March, ITV, 9pm.