What’s the story?

Alexander Armstrong in Sri Lanka.

I’ll need more information.

This three-part Channel 5 travel series sets out to explore the historic culture and modern urban sophistication of Sri Lanka, from the Sinhalese areas in the central and southern regions to the Tamil north.

Armstrong discovers how the country is recovering from a long civil war and natural disasters, as well as examining how it has been shaped by a chequered past under European colonial powers across the centuries, including the British, Dutch and Portuguese.

Then what?

Our intrepid presenter is sent on a surprise mission “to make his trip to Sri Lanka 10 times better”, involving a tuk tuk ride and meeting a “mysterious guru”. The packed itinerary also sees him try his hand at surfing, learn about mask-making and be “prescribed an exorcism”.

Anything else?

Rescue animals form a strong theme. Sri Lanka has an estimated three million stray dogs. At one of the world’s largest canine rescue centres, Armstrong meets some of the four-legged residents and joins them at the beach for a chaotic hydrotherapy session.

He pays a visit to a foundation which cares for formerly-captive-now-rescued elephants and is shown how dung is made into paper at the factory next door.

When can I watch?

Alexander Armstrong in Sri Lanka begins on Channel 5, Thursday, 9pm.