Michael Palin

Last updated


Michael Palin

Michael Palin (46317977182) (cropped).jpg
Palin in 2018
Michael Edward Palin

(1943-05-05) 5 May 1943 (age 80)
Sheffield, England
Education Brasenose College, Oxford (BA)
  • Actor
  • comedian
  • writer
  • television presenter
Years active1965–present
Known for
Helen Gibbins
(m. 1966;died 2023)
Website themichaelpalin.com

Sir Michael Edward Palin KCMG CBE FRGS FRSGS FRSL ( /ˈplɪn/ ; born 5 May 1943 [1] ) is an English actor, comedian, writer, and television presenter. He was a member of the Monty Python comedy group. [2] He received the BAFTA Fellowship in 2013 [3] and was appointed by Queen Elizabeth II as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2000, and was made a knight in 2019. [4] [5]


Palin started in television working on programs such as including the Ken Dodd Show, The Frost Report , and Do Not Adjust Your Set . Palin joined Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974) alongside John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Graham Chapman. He acted in some of the most famous Python sketches, including "Argument Clinic", "Dead Parrot sketch", "The Lumberjack Song", "The Spanish Inquisition", "Bicycle Repair Man" and "The Fish-Slapping Dance". Palin continued to work with Jones away from Python, co-writing Ripping Yarns . [6]

He wrote and starred in Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979) and The Meaning of Life (1983). For his performance in A Fish Called Wanda (1988) he received the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. [7] [8] Other notable films include Jabberwocky (1977), Time Bandits (1981), The Missionary (1982), A Private Function (1984), Brazil (1985), Fierce Creatures (1997), and The Death of Stalin (2017).

Since 1980, he has made numerous television travel documentaries, and is a widely recognised writer and presenter. [9] He has acted as a travel writer and travel documentarian in programmes broadcast on the BBC. His journeys have taken him across the world, including the North and South Poles, the Sahara, the Himalayas, Eastern Europe, and Brazil; in 2018, he visited North Korea, documenting his visit to the isolated country in a series broadcast on Channel 5. From 2009 to 2012 he was President of the Royal Geographical Society. [10]

Early life and education

Palin was born in Ranmoor, Sheffield, [11] [12] the second child and only son of Edward Moreton Palin (1900–1977) [13] [14] and Mary Rachel Lockhart (née Ovey; 1903–1990). His father was a Shrewsbury and Cambridge-educated engineer working for a steel firm. [15] His maternal grandfather, Lieutenant-Colonel Richard Lockhart Ovey, DSO, was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire in 1927. [16]

Palin was educated at Birkdale and Shrewsbury School. His sister Angela was nine years his senior; despite the age gap the two had a close relationship until her suicide in 1987. [15] [17] Palin is of mixed English and Irish Catholic heritage;[ citation needed ] he has ancestral roots in Letterkenny, County Donegal. [18] His great-grandmother fled the Irish Famine and was adopted by a wealthy English family. [19]

When he was five years old, Palin had his first acting experience at Birkdale playing Martha Cratchit in a school performance of A Christmas Carol . At the age of 10, Palin, still interested in acting, made a comedy monologue and read a Shakespeare play to his mother while playing all the parts. [20] After leaving Shrewsbury in 1962, he went on to read modern history at Brasenose College, Oxford. [1] With fellow student Robert Hewison he performed and wrote, for the first time, comedy material at a university Christmas party. [21] Terry Jones, also a student at Oxford, saw that performance and began writing with Hewison and Palin. [20] That year Palin joined the Brightside and Carbrook Co-operative Society Players and first gained fame when he won an acting award at a Co-op drama festival. [22] He also performed and wrote in the Oxford Revue (called the Et ceteras) with Jones. [23]


Early career

After finishing university in 1965, Palin became a presenter on a comedy pop show called Now! for the television contractor Television Wales and the West. [24] At the same time, Palin was contacted by Jones, who had left university a year earlier, to help with writing a theatrical documentary about sex through the ages. [25] Although this project was eventually abandoned, it brought Palin and Jones together as a writing duo and led them to write comedy for various BBC programmes, such as The Ken Dodd Show, The Billy Cotton Bandshow, and The Illustrated Weekly Hudd. [26] They collaborated in writing lyrics for an album by Barry Booth called Diversions. They were also in the team of writers working for The Frost Report , whose other members included Frank Muir, Barry Cryer, Marty Feldman, Ronnie Barker, Ronnie Corbett, Dick Vosburgh and future Monty Python members Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Eric Idle. [27] [28] [29]

Although the members of Monty Python had already encountered each other over the years, The Frost Report was the first time all the British members of Monty Python (its sixth member, Terry Gilliam, was at that time an American citizen) worked together. [15] During the run of The Frost Report the Palin/Jones team contributed material to two shows starring John Bird: The Late Show and A Series of Birds. For A Series of Birds the Palin/Jones team had their first experience of writing narrative instead of the short sketches they were accustomed to conceiving. [30]

Following The Frost Report the Palin/Jones team worked both as actors and writers on the show Twice a Fortnight with Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie and Jonathan Lynn, and the successful children's comedy show Do Not Adjust Your Set with Idle and David Jason. The show also featured musical numbers by the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, including future Monty Python musical collaborator Neil Innes. The animations for Do Not Adjust Your Set were made by Terry Gilliam. Eager to work with Palin [31] sans Jones, Cleese later asked him to perform in How to Irritate People together with Chapman and Tim Brooke-Taylor. The Palin/Jones team were reunited for The Complete and Utter History of Britain . [32]

Monty Python

Palin in "The Spanish Inquisition" sketch at the 2014 reunion, Monty Python Live (Mostly) Monty Python Live 02-07-14 12 47 33 (14598699991).jpg
Palin in "The Spanish Inquisition" sketch at the 2014 reunion, Monty Python Live (Mostly)

On the strength of their work on The Frost Report and other programmes, Cleese and Chapman had been offered a show by the BBC, but Cleese was reluctant to do a two-man show for various reasons, among them Chapman's reputedly difficult personality. During this period Cleese contacted Palin about doing the show that ultimately became Monty Python's Flying Circus. [15] At the same time the success of Do Not Adjust Your Set had led Palin, Jones, Idle and Gilliam to be offered their own series and, while it was still in production, Palin agreed to Cleese's proposal and brought along Idle, Jones and Gilliam. Thus the formation of the Monty Python troupe has been referred to as a result of Cleese's desire to work with Palin and the chance circumstances that brought the other four members into the fold. [16]

Palin played various roles in Monty Python, which ranged from manic enthusiasm (such as the lumberjack of "The Lumberjack Song", or Herbert Anchovy, host of the game show "Blackmail") to unflappable calmness (such as the Dead parrot vendor or Cheese Shop proprietor). [33] [34] [35] As a straight man he was often a foil to the rising ire of characters portrayed by Cleese. He also played timid, socially inept characters such as Arthur Putey, the man who sits quietly as a marriage counsellor (Eric Idle) makes love to his wife (Carol Cleveland), and Mr Anchovy, a chartered accountant who wants to become a lion tamer. He appeared as the "It's" man (a Robinson Crusoe-type castaway with torn clothes and a long, unkempt beard) at the beginning of most episodes. He also frequently played a Gumby, a character Palin said "had these moronic views that were expressed with extraordinary force." [36]

Palin frequently co-wrote sketches with Terry Jones, including the "Spanish Inquisition sketch", which featured the catchphrase "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!". He also composed songs with Jones including "The Lumberjack Song", "Every Sperm Is Sacred" and "Spam". His solo musical compositions included "Decomposing Composers" and "Finland". [37]

1974-1996: Ripping Yarns and film roles

Michael Palin, Nightingale House, in Clapham, November 2010 Michaelpalinnightingale.jpg
Michael Palin, Nightingale House, in Clapham, November 2010

In 1971, he co-wrote, with Hugh Leonard and Terence Feely, the film Percy , which depicts a penis transplant.

After the Monty Python television series ended in 1974, the Palin/Jones team worked on Ripping Yarns , an intermittent television comedy series broadcast over three years from 1976. They had earlier collaborated on the play Secrets from the BBC series Black and Blue in 1973. He starred as Dennis the Peasant in Terry Gilliam's 1977 film Jabberwocky . Palin also appeared in All You Need Is Cash (1978) as Eric Manchester (based on Derek Taylor), the press agent for the Rutles. In 1980, Palin co-wrote Time Bandits with Terry Gilliam. He also acted in the film.

In 1982, Palin wrote and starred in The Missionary , co-starring Maggie Smith. In it, he plays the Reverend Charles Fortescue, who is recalled from Africa to aid prostitutes. He co-starred with Maggie Smith again in the 1984 comedy film A Private Function . In 1984, he reunited with Terry Gilliam to appear in Brazil . He appeared in the comedy film A Fish Called Wanda , for which he won the BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. [7] Cleese reunited the main cast almost a decade later to make Fierce Creatures . After filming for Fierce Creatures finished, Palin went on a travel journey for a BBC documentary and, returning a year later, found that the end of Fierce Creatures had failed at test screenings and had to be reshot.


After Fierce Creatures and a small part in The Wind in the Willows , a film directed by and starring Terry Jones, it was twenty years until Palin's next film role, as Soviet politician Vyacheslav Molotov in the 2017 satirical black comedy The Death of Stalin . Palin also appeared with John Cleese in his documentary, The Human Face . Palin was cast in a supporting role in the Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan romantic comedy You've Got Mail , but his role was eventually cut entirely. [38]

Palin has also appeared in serious drama. In 1991 Palin appeared in a film, American Friends , he wrote based upon a real event in the life of his great-grandfather, a fellow at St John's College, Oxford. [39] [40] In that same year he also played the part of a headmaster in Alan Bleasdale's Channel 4 drama series GBH . In 1994, Palin narrated the English language audiobook version of Esio Trot by children's author Roald Dahl. [41]

In 1997, Palin had a small cameo role in Australian soap opera Home and Away . He played an English surfer with a fear of sharks, who interrupts a conversation between two main characters to ask whether there were any sharks in the sea. This was filmed while he was in Australia for the Full Circle series, with a segment about the filming of the role featuring in the series. In November 2005, he appeared in the John Peel's Record Box documentary. [42]

In 2013, Palin appeared in a First World War drama titled The Wipers Times written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. [43] At the Cannes Film Festival in 2016, it was announced that Palin was set to star alongside Adam Driver in Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote . [44] Palin, however, dropped out of the film after it ran into a financial problem. [45]

While speaking at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Palin announced that he was presenting the two-part documentary Michael Palin in North Korea to be broadcast on the British television network Channel 5. [46] The documentary was broadcast in September 2018, in two one-hour segments on Channel 5 in the UK and in a single two-hour programme on National Geographic in the United States. [47] [48] [49] It was broadcast again by Channel 5, in a single two-hour programme in December 2018. [50]

In July 2019, Palin performed a one-man stage show at the Torch Theatre, Milford Haven, Wales, about the loss of HMS Erebus during the third Franklin expedition, which is recounted in his book Erebus: The Story of a Ship. [51]

Television documentaries


Palin's first travel documentary was episode 4 of the 1980 BBC Television series Great Railway Journeys of the World , entitled "Confessions of a Trainspotter". Throughout the hour-long show, Palin humorously reminisces about his childhood hobby of train spotting while he travels throughout the UK by train from London to the Kyle of Lochalsh, via Manchester, York, Newcastle upon Tyne, Edinburgh and Inverness. He rides vintage railway lines and trains including the Flying Scotsman . At the Kyle of Lochalsh, Palin bought the station's long metal platform sign and is seen lugging it back to London with him.

In 1994, Palin travelled through Ireland for the same series, entitled "Derry to Kerry". In a quest for family roots, he attempted to trace his great-grandmother – Brita Gallagher – who set sail from Ireland 180 years ago during the Great Famine (1845–1849), bound for a new life in Burlington, New Jersey. The series is a trip along the Palin family line.

Between 1989 and 2012, Palin appeared as presenter in a series of travel programmes made for the BBC. It was after the veteran TV globetrotter Alan Whicker and journalist Miles Kington turned down presenting the first of these, Around the World in 80 Days with Michael Palin , that gave Palin the opportunity to present his first and subsequent travel shows. [52] In 2018, he was hired by ITN Productions to present travel documentaries commissioned by Channel 5, with journeys to North Korea and Iraq completed by 2022. [53]

Following each trip, Palin wrote a book about his travels, providing information and insights not included in the TV programme. Each book is illustrated with photographs by Basil Pao, the stills photographer who was on the team. (Exception: the first book, Around the World in 80 Days, contains some pictures by Pao but most are by other photographers.)

All seven of these books were also made available as audio books, and all of them are read by Palin himself. Around the World in 80 Days and Hemingway Adventure are unabridged, while the other four books were made in both abridged and unabridged versions. [58]

For four of the trips a photography book was made by Pao, each with an introduction written by Palin. These are large coffee-table style books with pictures printed on glossy paper. The majority of the pictures are of various people encountered on the trip, as informal portraits or showing them engaged in some interesting activity. Some of the landscape photos are displayed as two-page spreads.

Palin's travel programmes are responsible for a phenomenon called the "Palin effect", referring to areas of the world that he has visited suddenly become popular tourist attractions – for example, the significant increase in the number of tourists interested in Peru after Palin visited Machu Picchu. [59] In a 2006 survey of "15 of the world's top travel writers" by The Observer , Palin named Peru's Pongo de Mainique (canyon below the Machu Picchu) his "favourite place in the world". [60]

Palin notes in his book of Around the World in 80 Days that the final leg of his journey could originally have taken him and his crew on one of the trains involved in the Clapham Junction rail crash, but they arrived ahead of schedule and caught an earlier train.

Art and history

In recent years, Palin has written and presented occasional documentary programmes on artists that interest him. The first, on Scottish painter Anne Redpath, was Palin on Redpath in 1997. In The Bright Side of Life (2000), Palin continued on a Scottish theme, looking at the work of the Scottish Colourists. Two further programmes followed on European painters; Michael Palin and the Ladies Who Loved Matisse (2004) and Michael Palin and the Mystery of Hammershøi (2005), about the French artist Henri Matisse and Danish artist Vilhelm Hammershøi respectively. The DVD Michael Palin on Art contains all these documentaries except for the Matisse programme. In 2013, he travelled to the United States and filmed in both Maine, and Pennsylvania to write and present "Michael Palin in Wyeth World." It is about the American painter Andrew Wyeth and the people who inspired his paintings.

In November 2008, Palin presented a First World War documentary about Armistice Day, 11 November 1918, when thousands of soldiers lost their lives in battle after the war had officially ended. Palin filmed on the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium for the programme, called the Last Day of World War One , produced for the BBC's Timewatch series. [61]

Personal life

In 1966, Palin married Helen Gibbins (born October 1942), whom he first met in 1959 on holiday in Southwold in Suffolk. [15] This meeting was later fictionalised in Palin's teleplay for the 1987 BBC television drama East of Ipswich . [62] Their marriage lasted for 57 years, until Helen's death from kidney failure on 2 May 2023. [63] The Palins' three children are Thomas (born 1969), William (born 1971), and Rachel (born 1975), and there are four grandchildren. [55] Rachel is a BBC TV director, whose work includes MasterChef: The Professionals . [64] [65] William is Director of Conservation at the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London, [66] and oversaw the 2018–19 restoration of the Painted Hall. [67] A photograph of William as a baby briefly appeared in Monty Python and the Holy Grail as "Sir Not-appearing-in-this-film". [68] The theatre designer Jeremy Herbert is a nephew. [69] Palin describes his religious belief as "agnostic with doubts". [70] He has lived in Gospel Oak, London, since the 1960s. [71] [72]

Activism and charity

Palin assisted Campaign for Better Transport and others with campaigns on sustainable transport, particularly those relating to urban areas, and has been president of the campaign since 1986. [73]

On 2 January 2011, he became the first person to sign the UK-based Campaign for Better Transport's Fair Fares Now campaign. In July 2015, he signed an open letter and gave an interview to support "a strong BBC at the centre of British life" at a time the government was reviewing the corporation's size and activities. [74]

In July 2010, Palin sent a message of support for the Dongria Kondh tribe of India, who were resisting mining on their land by the company Vedanta Resources. Palin said, "I've been to the Nyamgiri Hills in Orissa and seen the forces of money and power that Vedanta Resources have arrayed against a people who have occupied their land for thousands of years, who husband the forest sustainably and make no great demands on the state or the government. The tribe I visited simply want to carry on living in the villages that they and their ancestors have always lived in." [75]



1971 And Now for Something Completely Different Various rolesAlso writer
1975 Monty Python and the Holy Grail Sir Galahad the Pure
Leader of the Knights Who Say Ni
Various roles
Also writer
1977 Jabberwocky Dennis Cooper
1978 All You Need Is Cash Eric Manchester/Lawyer
1979 Monty Python's Life of Brian Pontius Pilate/Various rolesAlso writer
1981 Time Bandits VincentAlso writer
1982 Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl Various rolesAlso writer
The Missionary The Reverend Charles FortescueAlso writer/producer
1983 Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Various rolesAlso writer
The Crimson Permanent Assurance WorkmanShort film
1984 A Private Function Gilbert Chilvers
1985 Brazil Jack Lint
1987 The Grand Knockout Tournament Himself Television special
1988 A Fish Called Wanda Ken Pile
1991 American Friends Reverend Francis AshbyAlso writer
1996 The Wind in the Willows The SunVoice only
1997 Fierce Creatures Adrian 'Bugsy' Malone
2010 Not the Messiah Mrs Betty Palin/Pontius Pilate/Bevis
2011 Arthur Christmas Ernie ClickerVoice only
2012 A Liar's Autobiography:
The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman
Various rolesVoice only
2014 Monty Python Live Various roles
Also writer
2015 Absolutely Anything Kindly AlienVoice only
2017 The Death of Stalin Vyacheslav Molotov




Travel books

All but the latest two of his travel books can be read with no charge, complete and unabridged, on Palin's Travels website.

Autobiography (contributor)




Children's books


Awards, honours and legacy

Class 153, no. 153335 Michael Palin at Cambridge 153335 'Michael Palin' at Cambridge.JPG
Class 153, no. 153335 Michael Palin at Cambridge

Palin was instrumental in setting up the Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children in 1993. [82] Also in 1993, each member of Monty Python had an asteroid named after them. Palin's is Asteroid 9621 Michaelpalin. [83] In 2003, inside the Globe a commemorative stone was placed – Palin has his own stone, to mark donors to the theatre, but it is misspelled as "Michael Pallin". The story goes that John Cleese paid for the stone, and mischievously insisted on misspelling his name. [84]

In honour of his achievements as a traveller, especially rail travel, Palin has two British trains named after him. In 2002, Virgin Trains' new £5 million high speed Super Voyager train number 221130 was named Michael Palin  it carries his name externally and a plaque is located adjacent to the onboard shop with information on Palin and his many journeys. [85] Also, National Express East Anglia named a British Rail Class 153 (unit number 153335) after him. (He is a model railway enthusiast. [86] [ self-published source? ])

Sheffield Legends plaque in Palin's home city of Sheffield, England Sheffield Legends Michael Palin.jpg
Sheffield Legends plaque in Palin's home city of Sheffield, England

In 2008, he received the James Joyce Award of the Literary and Historical Society in Dublin. In recognition of his services to the promotion of geography, Palin was awarded the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society in March 2009, along with a Fellowship of this Society (FRGS). [87]

In June 2013, he was similarly honoured in Canada with a gold medal for achievements in geography by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. [88] In June 2009, Palin was elected for a three-year term as President of the Royal Geographical Society. [89] [90] Because of his self-described "amenable, conciliatory character" Michael Palin has been referred to as unofficially "Britain's Nicest Man". [91] In a 2018 poll for Yorkshire Day he was named the greatest Yorkshireman ever, ahead of Sean Bean and Patrick Stewart. [92]

In September 2013, Moorlands School, Leeds, named one of their school houses "Palin" after him. [93] The University of St Andrews awarded Palin an honorary Doctor of Science degree during their June 2017 graduation ceremonies, with the degree recognising his contribution to the public's understanding of contemporary geography. [94] He joins his fellow Pythons John Cleese and Terry Jones in receiving an honorary degree from the Fife institution. [95] In October 2018, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society awarded Palin the first Louie Kamookak Medal for advances in geography, for his book on the history of the polar exploration vessel HMS Erebus. [96]

He was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours. [97] Palin was appointed a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG) in the 2019 New Year Honours for "services to travel, culture and geography". Palin is the only member of the Monty Python team to receive a knighthood. [98]

In 2017, the British Library acquired Palin's archive consisting of project files relating to his work, notebooks, and his personal diaries. The papers in the archive (Add MS 89284) relate to his work with Monty Python, his later TV work, and his children's and humorous books. [99]

BAFTA Awards

Other awards

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Graham Chapman</span> English actor, comedian and writer (1941–1989)

Graham Chapman was a British actor, comedian and writer. He was one of the six members of the surreal comedy group Monty Python. He portrayed authority figures such as The Colonel and the lead role in two Python films, Holy Grail (1975) and Life of Brian (1979).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">John Cleese</span> English comedian and actor (born 1939)

John Marwood Cleese is an English actor, comedian, screenwriter, and producer. Emerging from the Cambridge Footlights in the 1960s, he first achieved success at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and as a scriptwriter and performer on The Frost Report. In the late 1960s, he co-founded Monty Python, the comedy troupe responsible for the sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus. Along with his Python co-stars Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman, Cleese starred in Monty Python films, which include Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Life of Brian (1979) and The Meaning of Life (1983).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Monty Python</span> British surreal comedy group

Monty Python were a British comedy troupe formed in 1969 consisting of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin. The group came to prominence for the sketch comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969–1974). Their work then developed into a larger collection that included live shows, films, albums, books, and musicals; their influence on comedy has been compared to the Beatles' influence on music. Their sketch show has been called "an important moment in the evolution of television comedy".

<i>Monty Python and the Holy Grail</i> 1975 British comedy film

Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1975 British independent postmodernist comedy film satirizing the Arthurian legend, written and performed by the Monty Python comedy group and directed by Gilliam and Jones in their feature directorial debuts. It was conceived during the hiatus between the third and fourth series of their BBC Television series Monty Python's Flying Circus.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Terry Jones</span> Welsh comedian, director, historian, actor and writer (1942–2020)

Terence Graham Parry Jones was a Welsh comedian, director, historian, actor, writer and member of the Monty Python comedy troupe.

<i>Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl</i> 1982 British film

Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl is a 1982 British concert comedy film directed by Terry Hughes and starring the Monty Python comedy troupe as they perform many of their sketches at the Hollywood Bowl. The film also features Carol Cleveland in numerous supporting roles and Neil Innes performing songs. Also present for the shows and participating as an 'extra' was Python superfan Kim "Howard" Johnson.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nudge Nudge</span> Comedy sketch from Monty Pythons Flying Circus

"Candid Photography", better known as "Nudge Nudge", is a sketch from the third Monty Python's Flying Circus episode, "How to Recognise Different Types of Trees From Quite a Long Way Away" featuring Eric Idle and Terry Jones as two strangers who meet in a pub.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Argument Clinic</span> Monty Python sketch

"Argument Clinic" is a sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus, written by John Cleese and Graham Chapman. The sketch was originally broadcast as part of the television series and has subsequently been performed live by the group. It relies heavily on wordplay and dialogue, and has been used as an example of how language works.

Charles McKeown is a British actor and writer, perhaps best known for his collaborations with Terry Gilliam. The two met while shooting Monty Python's Life of Brian, while McKeown was doing bit parts in the film.

<i>Monty Pythons Personal Best</i> British TV series or program

Monty Python's Personal Best is a miniseries of six one-hour specials, each showcasing the contributions of a particular Monty Python member. Produced by Python (Monty) Pictures Ltd., the series first aired on PBS stations between 22 February and 8 March 2006, although the Eric Idle and Michael Palin episodes were initially released by A&E on two Region 1 DVDs in 2005; the remaining episodes were released in late February 2006.

Edward Ian MacNaughton was a Scottish actor-turned-television producer and director, best known for his work with the Monty Python team.

<i>Python Night – 30 Years of Monty Python</i> British TV series or programme

Python Night was an evening of Monty Python-related programmes broadcast on BBC2 on 9 October 1999, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It featured newly written sketches, three documentaries and a screening of Monty Python's Life of Brian.

<i>Monty Python Live at Aspen</i> American TV series or program

Monty Python Live at Aspen was a reunion show featuring the surviving members of the Monty Python team: John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, appearing on stage together for the first time since their Hollywood Bowl shows in 1980. Filmed on 7 March 1998 at the Wheeler Opera House in Colorado as part of The US Comedy Arts Festival, it featured the five Pythons in an interview with host Robert Klein. The late Graham Chapman was also allegedly in attendance as his "ashes" were brought out in an urn with his portrait attached to the front, only to be knocked over by Terry Gilliam.

<i>Monty Pythons Flying Circus</i> British sketch comedy television series

Monty Python's Flying Circus is a British surreal sketch comedy series created by and starring Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam, who became known collectively as "Monty Python", or the "Pythons". The first episode was recorded at the BBC on 7 September 1969 and premiered on 5 October on BBC1, with 45 episodes airing over four series from 1969 to 1974, plus two episodes for German TV. A feature film adaptation of several sketches, And Now for Something Completely Different, was released in 1971.

"The Mouse Problem" is a Monty Python sketch, first aired on 12 October 1969 as part of Sex and Violence, the second episode of the first series of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

<i>Holy Flying Circus</i> 2011 BBC television comedy film

Holy Flying Circus is a 90-minute BBC television comedy film first broadcast in 2011, written by Tony Roche and directed by Owen Harris.

<i>The Pythons</i> (film) British TV series or programme

The Pythons is a BBC documentary film about the Monty Python team which was shot in Tunisia in 1978 during the making of Monty Python's Life of Brian. As well as promoting their upcoming film, the documentary also serves as a tenth anniversary profile of the team, despite the original broadcast date of 20 June 1979 being some months ahead of both the tenth anniversary of their TV debut and the UK release of their new film.

<i>Monty Python: And Now for Something Rather Similar</i> British TV series or programme

And Now for Something Rather Similar is a documentary about the Monty Python team as they prepare for their first live performances in 34 years. Airing on BBC 1 on 29 June 2014 as part of the Imagine series, the programme is presented by Alan Yentob, who tracks down the five surviving Pythons in the months leading up to their Monty Python Live (Mostly) shows at the O2 arena in July 2014.

<i>Monty Python Live!</i>

Monty Python Live! is a book detailing the various live performances of the Monty Python team between 1971 and 1980.


  1. 1 2 "PALIN, Michael Edward" . Who's Who . ukwhoswho.com. Vol. 2015 (Oxford University Press  ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.(Subscription or UK public library membership required.)(subscription required)
  2. Appleyard, Bryan (9 September 2018). "The Magazine Interview: Michael Palin on Monty Python, travel and how to stay married". The Times .
  3. "Michael Palin To Receive Academy Fellowship at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards". bafta.org. 2 May 2013.
  4. "Trio of Dames lead showbiz honours". BBC News. 31 December 1999. Retrieved 15 August 2006.
  5. "New Year Honours 2019: Twiggy, Michael Palin and Gareth Southgate on list". BBC. 28 December 2018.
  6. ""Ripping Yarns" remembers a Britain that is not yet lost". The Economist . 5 January 2017.
  7. 1 2 "Film – Actor in a Supporting Role in 1989". BAFTA. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  8. "Sir Michael Palin to have heart surgery". BBC. 24 July 2019.
  9. "Michael Palin | British comedian". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  10. People & Staff Archived 15 June 2012 at the Wayback Machine Royal Geographical Society. Retrieved 24 June 2012
  11. Scott, Danny (2 June 2013). "Time and place: Michael Palin". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 10 August 2017.
  12. Peace, Lee (25 July 2019). "Sheffield-born comic legend Sir Michael Palin to undergo heart surgery". The Star (UK).
  13. Barratt, Nick (11 November 2006). "Family detective" . The Daily Telegraph . London, England. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  14. "Michael Palin Biography (1943–)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  15. 1 2 3 4 5 Chalmers, Robert (29 July 2012). "The dark knight rises: Perhaps Michael Palin isn't the nicest chap in Britain after all..." The Independent . London, England: Independent Print Limited. Archived from the original on 14 August 2012. Retrieved 14 August 2012.
  16. 1 2 Chapman, Graham; Palin, Michael; Cleese, John; Gilliam, Terry; Idle, Eric; Jones, Terry; McCabe, Bob (2005). The Pythons Autobiography by The Pythons. New York City: Thomas Dunne Books. ISBN   978-0312311445.
  17. Pao, Basil (23–24 October 2004). "The wandering man". The Weekend Standard. Hong Kong: Sing Tao Newspaper Group and Global China Group. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  18. Feeny, Seán P. (14 March 2013). "First Letterkenny heritage magazine launched". Donegal News . Letterkenney, Ireland: North-West News Group. Retrieved 14 March 2013. Over 100 people attended the official launch of Letterkenny Community Heritage Group's new magazine in the Station House Hotel this week. [...] Did you know that Michael Palin of Monty Python fame has ancestral roots in the town?
  19. "Back to his roots Students honour Palin". Independent. Retrieved 17 November 2021.
  20. 1 2 Ross 1997, p. 200.
  21. "Michael Palin biography". Archived from the original on 1 February 2009.
  22. "ABC TV Documentaries: Sahara episode 3/4". Australian Broadcasting Company. Archived from the original on 11 May 2006. Retrieved 2 September 2006.
  23. "Michael Palin". Desert Island Discs. 17 November 1979. BBC Radio 4.
  24. Oliver, John. "Michael Palin". BFI Screen Online. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  25. Hodgkinson, Tom (2006). "In Conversation with Michael Palin". The Idler. Archived from the original on 3 January 2008. Retrieved 20 December 2006.
  26. "Biography". Pythonet.org. Archived from the original on 15 November 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2006.
  27. "The Frost Report". BBC Comedy. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  28. "Jimmy Gilbert, BBC producer who presided over a golden age of light entertainment – obituary" . The Daily Telegraph. London. 8 June 2016. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  29. "Marty Feldman: Six Degrees of Separation". BBC Two . 13 August 2011. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  30. "A Series of Bird's". BBC Guide to Comedy. Archived from the original on 3 February 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2006.
  31. Ross 1997, p. 91.
  32. Eggers, Dave (13 September 2006). "Interview with Eric Idle in The Guardian, with quotes from Terry Jones and Michael Palin". Film.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 23 August 2019.
  33. Marshall, Michelle (3 September 2019). "Michael Palin: 'He can't communicate' Monty Python star in emotional Terry Jones admission". Express UK.
  34. Heritage, Stuart (3 September 2019). "John Cleese wants us to revere Monty Python – but he is ruining its legacy". The Guardian .
  35. "Terry Gilliam says he disagrees with John Cleese's worldview". The Guardian. 2 September 2019.
  36. "Michael Palin interview". Chap.co.uk. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  37. Fennessy, Kathleen C. "Monty Python Sings – Monty Python: Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic . San Francisco, California: All Media Network.
  38. ten Cate, Hans (17 January 1999). "Michael Palin Dropped From Final Print of Hanks/Ryan Romantic Comedy". Daily Llama. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  39. "American Friends". Rotten Tomatoes.com. 22 March 1991. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  40. "Michael Palin: my seven of the best". www.churchtimes.co.uk. Retrieved 17 January 2017.
  41. McCall, Douglas (2013). Monty Python: A Chronology, 1969–2012, 2d ed. McFarland. p. 166.
  42. "John Peel's Record Box", 2005.
  43. "Python Palin stars in BBC WWI drama". BBC News. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  44. Skinner, Craig (11 May 2016). "EXCLUSIVE: Terry Gilliam's The Man Who Killed Don Quixote to star Adam Driver and Michael Palin; new concept art uncovered". Flickreel.com.
  45. Itzkoff, Dave (28 June 2017). "Nobody Expects Michael Palin: A Comic Actor in a Dramatic Role". The New York Times . New York City. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  46. "Michael Palin has travelled to North Korea for new Channel 5 series". i. 22 May 2018. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  47. "When is Michael Palin's North Korea travel programme on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  48. "How Michael Palin Introduced North Korea to Monty Python". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  49. "National Geographic Lands Michael Palin's North Korea TV Special". Variety. 26 September 2018. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  50. "What time is the Michael Palin: North Korea special edition on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  51. Adams, Steve. "Michael Palin brings Erebus: The Story of a Ship to the Torch Theatre". Western Telegraph . Retrieved 8 September 2019.
  52. Vestey, Michael (6 August 2005). "Watching over Whicker". Findarticles.com. Archived from the original on 1 June 2013. Retrieved 25 October 2008.
  53. "'Michael Palin: Into Iraq' series commissioned by Channel 5". Archived from the original on 21 July 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  54. Grierson, Jamie (5 August 2018). "Geography a force for broadening the mind, says Michael Palin". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  55. 1 2 Dunn, Gemma (13 September 2018). "Michael Palin on North Korea: You can't condemn a whole nation for their leaders". The Irish Times. Retrieved 13 September 2018.
  56. "Michael Palin Travels to Iraq for Channel 5 Series". 15 August 2022.
  57. "Into Iraq – Coming 15th September 2022".
  58. Monkey (14 March 2014). "BBC accountants' shallow pockets gave Michael Palin a global hit | Media Monkey". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  59. Webster, Ben (14 January 2005). "Globetrotter Palin brought down to earth by eco-lobby". The Times. London. Retrieved 14 August 2006.
  60. Wilkinson, Carl (8 January 2006). "My favourite place in the world". The Observer. UK. Retrieved 18 August 2007.
  61. "Timewatch – The Last Day of World War One". BBC. Retrieved 1 November 2008.
  62. Ross 1997, p. 57.
  63. Badshah, Nadeem (2 May 2023). "'The bedrock of my life': Michael Palin announces the death of his wife Helen". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 May 2023.
  64. Pelling, Rowan (13 November 2015). "Michael Palin: How to stay married for 49 years (sex has nothing to do with it)" . The Daily Telegraph . London, England. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  65. "Home truths on Wanderlust". Camden New Journal . London, England: New Journal Enterprises. 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008.
  66. "Will Palin appointed as Conservation Director". Old Royal Naval College Website. 1 February 2014. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  67. "Need helping appreciating a museum? Get comfy first". i News. 22 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  68. "Twiggy, Monty Python's Michael Palin among recipients on New Year's Honors List". CBS News . 28 December 2018.
  69. Palin, Michael (2014). Travelling to Work: Diaries 1988–1998. London, England: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 88. ISBN   9781466888913.
  70. Palin, Michael (22 May 2015). "My seven of the best". The Church Times.
  71. "Gospel Oak | Hidden London".
  72. "Sir Michael Palin's beloved wife Helen dies aged 80". Islington Gazette. 13 May 2023. Retrieved 16 May 2023.
  73. "Campaign for Better Transport website". Archived from the original on 17 October 2008.
  74. "Michael Palin: 'BBC still lets us experiment'". BBC News. 16 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  75. Michael Palin sends message to support Dongria Kondh, Survival International
  76. "Michael Palin to narrate Clangers". BBC News. 8 September 2014.
  77. Mangan, Lucy (21 September 2018). "Michael Palin in North Korea review – a soothing look at a sinister regime". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  78. "BBC One – Worzel Gummidge, Series 1, The Green Man". BBC.
  79. "Michael Palin: Travels of a Lifetime". BBC. Retrieved 26 July 2021.
  80. "Michael Palin's Himalaya: Journey of a Lifetime". BBC Two. BBC. Retrieved 8 March 2023.
  81. "Sir Michael Palin to travel across Iraq in new Channel 5 series". irishnews.com. 18 May 2022. Retrieved 31 August 2022.
  82. "Palin's centre for stammerers wins £340,000 grant". Archived from the original on 13 September 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  83. "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Retrieved 17 October 2006.
  84. "11 Secret Features of Famous London Landmarks". Londonist. 20 October 2015.
  85. "Virgin Trains". Archived from the original on 16 October 2006. Retrieved 13 December 2006.
  86. "can we attract youth to railway modelling?". www.009.cd2.com. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  87. "Royal Scottish Geographical Society: Medals & Awards". Archived from the original on 12 February 2010. Retrieved 29 January 2010.
  88. Ouzounian, Richard (26 June 2013). "Michael Palin, from Monty Python to travel series host". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  89. "Michael Palin announced as new president of Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 March 2011. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  90. "A new journey of exploration for Michael Palin" . The Independent. Archived from the original on 14 May 2022. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
  91. Lee, Marc (24 August 2009). "Michael Palin: he's not a Messiah, just a very nice man" . The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022.
  92. "Ed Sheeran named among the greatest Yorkshiremen of all time". London Economic. Archived from the original on 27 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  93. "Moorlands School Forms and Houses" . Retrieved 24 April 2015.
  94. "Former Python looks on the bright side after uni honour". Fife Today. Kirkcaldy: Johnston Press. 23 June 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.
  95. "The Meaning of Fife". University of St Andrews. 5 May 2017. Retrieved 25 June 2017.[ permanent dead link ]
  96. "Michael Palin wows audiences with tale of HMS Erebus". Canadian Geographic. 20 October 2018. Retrieved 2 December 2018.
  97. "Trio of Dames lead showbiz honours". BBC News. 31 December 1999. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  98. "Monty Python's Michael Palin gets knighthood in New Year Honours". Yorkshire Evening Post. 29 December 2018. Retrieved 29 December 2018.
  99. Michael Palin Archive, archives and manuscripts catalogue, the British Library. Retrieved 26 May 2020
  100. "BAFTA Film Awards – Best Supporting Actor 1989". BAFTA . Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  101. "Monty Python Special Award". Archived from the original on 8 November 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2009.
  102. "TV Baftas 2013: all the winners". The Guardian . 12 May 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  103. "Michael Palin To Receive Academy Fellowship at the Arqiva British Academy Television Awards". BAFTA . Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  104. "Aardman Slapstick Visual Comedy Award". slapstick.org.uk. 18 June 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2017.

Further reading