"Basil is actually the English name for Ho-Yun. I first met him when he was brought in to design Monty Python's Life of Brian book way back in the late 1970s. Having lived in America and done all sorts of naughty things, Basil married, settled down (a bit) and went back to live in his birthplace, Hong Kong. As Phileas Fogg's route in Around the World took me through Hong Kong, Clem Vallance asked if I knew anyone who could show me around. Basil was the obvious choice. He not only became my on-screen guide to China, he and his wife obligingly had a daughter who was born on the day I left the Reform Club. Sonia, now 14, is exactly the same age as my telly-travelling life. In addition to showing me round Basil displayed two, no sorry, three advantages that have made him indispensable on all my journeys since then. He loves good food and drink, takes lots of amazing photographs and wears straw hats everywhere, ensuring that I never lose sight of the film crew."

Michael Palin, 25th September 2002.