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Around the world in 80 days: Did Phileas Fogg, Abigail Fix and Passepartout really exist?


The BBC created its version of the Around the world in 80 days worn by a stunning David Tennant in Phileas Fogg. Despite its romantic aspect, this adventure around the world is based on real events. Here is the true story of the gentleman explorer behind this feat.

Freely inspired by Jules Verne’s novel, Around the world in 80 days, ends tonight on France 2, but has already been renewed for a season 2, based on another classic from the French novelist. David Tennant brilliantly plays the role of Phileas Fogg in this excellent family fiction which sees the English gentleman making an eventful tour of the world accompanied by his servant Jean Passepartout and the journalist Abigail Fix, a journalist who recounts his exploits. This excellent BBC miniseries takes great liberties with the novel, but keeps its spirit of adventure and camaraderie, and especially its characters Phileas Fogg and Passepartout played by Ibrahim Koma played Zacharie Mondino in Under the sun, although they do the addition of Abigail to complete this duo. If the story of Around the world in 80 days looks amazing, the series is based on real facts. Jules Verne was inspired by real characters to create his fictional heroes.

Phileas Fogg’s character is based on a true 19th century explorer

Worn by an excellent David Tennant, a past master in the art of metamorphosis and who puts on with a naturalness confusing the costume of Phileas Fogg, this spectacular adaptation of “Around the World in Eighty Days” plunges us into the 19th century, to the time of the great adventurers. The hero of Jules Verne’s novel did not exist, but this character was inspired by a true explorer, George Francis Train. In 1870, two years before the book’s publication, this eccentric American businessman and travel writer had completed a round-the-world trip in eighty days. The first of his three widely publicized world tours. George Francis Train was convinced that his first trip, recounted in a French periodical, had inspired Jules Verne to write his novel, “Around the world in eighty days” and in particular that his protagonist Phileas Fogg, had been modeled on him. In 1890, during his third world tour, twenty years after his first feat, he repeated this feat in 67 days, 13 days less than Phileas Fogg, and breaking the record then held by a woman by five days, Nellie Bly.

The heroine of the Round the World in 80 Days, Abigail Fix, is inspired by a real globetrotter journalist

The character of Abigail Fix was specially created for the miniseries Around the world in 80 days. This heroine was inspired by Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, known by the nickname of Nellie bly. This American globetrotter is considered a pioneer of investigative journalism and underground reporting. Destined to become a maid or housekeeper, she refused this fate to get into the press. In 1888, she aspired to travel around the globe to beat Phileas Fogg’s record, but the owner of the newspaper refused to finance her trip, believing that a woman was incapable of achieving such a feat. A year later, on November 14, 1889, she embarked on this expedition, which she successfully led. Alone and with a small bag for all luggage, she made a round-the-world trip in 72 days at the end of 1889 and the beginning of 1890. She thus beats the record then held by her compatriot George Francis Train and that of Phileas Fogg. The adventurer will also meet Jules Verne and his wife during her journey. On her return, Nellie Bly recounts her trip around the world in “Around the world in 72 days”. Jules Verne will write these words: “Never doubted the success of Nellie Bly, her fearlessness let it be expected. Hooray! for her. “



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