Joanna Lumley ambushed and threatened by armed gang while making TV documentary in Haiti

Her new two-part travel series begins next Monday

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Actress Joanna Lumley was ambushed by armed bandits in Haiti, it has been revealed.

The Absolutely Fabulous star, 73, was in the Caribbean country to film a TV documentary when a group blocked the road she and the production crew were travelling on with tree branches and demanded valuables.

It is claimed the thieves threatened the TV makers by saying ‘your money or your life’.

Joanna recalled to the Radio Times: “Suddenly there was a blockage across the road. They’d put branches down.

Joanna endured a very unpleasant ordeal (Credit: Brett D. Cove /

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“Our bodyguards got out and said, ‘Come on guys, clear it away’. And they said, ‘No, we want your money or your life.’

They come with guns and take your wallets.

“Sometimes they dig trenches, pour oil in and set fire to it, then they come with guns and take your wallets.”

Thankfully, Joanna and the crew were let through unscathed.

The incident will not be shown in the programme (Credit: Sue Andrews /

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An ITV spokesman told the Daily Mail: “A full risk assessment was carried out before filming in Haiti and Joanna was accompanied by the appropriate level of security.”

It is believed the incident will not be shown in the programme.

However, Joanna also said that encounter was not the only drama involved in the filming Hidden Caribbean: Havana To Haiti.

The two-part series is due to begin on ITV next Monday March 9.

She also noted how riots were breaking out “like wildfires” in the capital Port-au-Prince, where she was filming.

She said: “We arrived on the day of a riot, so we had a police escort to the hotel. Riots break out like wildfires across the land and if you’re in that place, you’re stuck.”

While she is “not really an afraid kind of person”, the star admitted seeing kids sleeping rough after being abandoned by their families affected her “terribly”.

She added: “The country’s broken, nothing works. There are unbelievably poor communities. 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.”

The star, who has fronted other travels programmes previously – including one focusing on Japan – was recently tipped to be in the running to replace Sandi Toksvig on Great British Bake Off.

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