Joanna Lumley ambushed by gang while filming in Haiti

BFI and Radio Times Television Festival
BFI and Radio Times Television Festival

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

The Absolutely Fabulous star was making the two-part documentary Joanna Lumley's Hidden Caribbean: Havana To Haiti when she and her camera crew were surrounded while driving in the mountains.

She 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."

The crew also arrived in the country's capital on the day of a riot.

Lumley said: "Port-au-Prince is an absolute catastrophe. We arrived there on the day of a riot, so we had to have a police escort to the hotel.

"Riots break out like wildfires across the country and 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."

However, she said she never considered going home, adding: "I'm not really an afraid kind of person.

"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."

– The full interview is in the Radio Times, out now.