Michael Palin: Always look on the bright side of life

Michael Palin reflects on career, Monty Python ahead of Australian tour


Simply stunned: Michael Palin said he feels "incredibly lucky" to have had such a diverse career, from Monty Python to travelling the world. Photo: John Swannell

Simply stunned: Michael Palin said he feels "incredibly lucky" to have had such a diverse career, from Monty Python to travelling the world. Photo: John Swannell

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From Pythons to poles, Michael Palin has covered a lot in his career.

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Michael Palin never thought he’d live the life he has.

As a young boy growing up in Sheffield, England, he would read about adventures in exotic places.

“I never dreamed I’d see both the North and South pole,” he said.

“I can’t believe I’ve done any of the things I’ve done.”

The seasoned traveller and veteran comedian is gearing up for his next trip – a visit to Australia where he will take to the stage with a new show.

Audiences will be treated to his legendary comedic repertoire from Monty Python and beyond.

“It will be the life of Michael with a number of things I’ve done before Python, during Python and after Python,” he said.

“It will be a lively event. I’ve not yet decided what to put in it, but hopefully I will by then.”

Michael is planning to dig into the archives and pull out some never-before-seen clips from his career.

Wanderlust: Michael traversed the world in his 1993 series Pole to Pole. Photo: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Wanderlust: Michael traversed the world in his 1993 series Pole to Pole. Photo: Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

But before he launches into what is sure to be a side-splitting show, he will talk about his latest book, Erebus: The Story of a Ship.

HMS Erebus was part of a successful 19th-century British expedition to the Antarctic which set out from Hobart but met its doom in search of the Northwest Passage. 

Four years ago, it was uncovered under the Canadian Arctic.

Michael said he was quite taken with its continuing story.

“It combines my love of the sea and ships, my fascination with those who went where no one had been before, and my conviction that history is made by accident rather than intention.”

“They can’t comprehend that’s Grandpa doing that disgraceful stuff!” - Michael Palin.

When he isn’t exploring the world or making it laugh, Michael likes to spend time with his four grandchildren, aged from 2½ months to 12.

“They bring the child in me out. It refreshes me and keeps me young,” he said.

“I love the spontaneity of children and the way they notice things.”

However, he admits they’re faintly embarrassed by his Monty Python gags.

“They can’t comprehend that’s Grandpa doing that disgraceful stuff!”

Ex-python: Michael and John Cleese starred in the Dead Parrot sketch in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

Ex-python: Michael and John Cleese starred in the Dead Parrot sketch in Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

And while he celebrated his 75th birthday in May, he doesn’t feel like he is slowing down –  in fact, he still feels he has an enormous amount to do.

“I still feel like I’m looking for the next challenge, something I haven’t done before.”

You can see Michael Palin at Melbourne’s Athenaeum Theatre on December 4, Sydney’s Enmore Theatre December 5 and Brisbane’s Southbank Piazza December 6.

Tickets from $95, through ticketek.com.au

Erebus – The Story of a Ship, by Michael Palin (Penguin Random House), $35. 

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