Joanna Lumley ambushed by bandits filming new documentary

Albertina Lloyd
Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
Joanna Lumley faced riots and robbers filming new documentary Hidden Caribbean (ITV)

Joanna Lumley has revealed she was ambushed by bandits while filming her new documentary in Haiti.

The 73-year-old Absolutely Fabulous star braved riots as well as armed robbers while making her latest series Hidden Caribbean.

Lumley told the Radio Times: “Suddenly there was a blockage across the road: they’d put branches down.

“Luckily, we had two big bodyguards who got out and said ‘Come on guys, clear this away’. And 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.”

Read more: Joanna Lumley: Idris Elba ‘doesn’t fit the description’ for James Bond

Fortunately the film crew were eventually allowed to pass unhurt and the incident will not be shown in the show.

Lumley described the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince is an “absolute catastrophe”, with riots breaking out “like wildfires”, requiring her to have a police escort to her hotel.

She said: “If you’re in that place, you’re stuck. All the aid workers in Port-au-Prince don’t go to the parts we went to because they’re no-go areas.”

But the actress and TV presenter – who fought for the rights of Gurkhas in the UK – said she was not scared.

Joanna Lumley visits the Haiti Surf School for her new series (ITV)

“I’m not really an afraid kind of person,” she said. “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.”

Read more: Joanna Lumley: Absolutely Fabulous's Patsy Is Transgender

Haiti, located south of the Bahamas, has been crippled by poverty and corruption for many years, as well as suffering devastating natural disasters, such as the deadly earthquake which made headlines in 2010. The main language spoken in the country is French.

Lumley travelled from Cuba to Haiti on her 1,500-mile trip for docu-series Hidden Caribbean: Havana To Haiti which begins on ITV on Tuesday, 10 March, at 9pm.