Michael Palin


Michael Palin Trivia


  • Trivia

    • Michael was the fourth choice to be the host of Around the world in 80 days, his first travelogue. The three actors that were considered before him are Alan Whicker, Miles Kington and Noel Edmonds.

    • Michael returned to radio drama by appearing in Simon Gray's play, Quatermaine's Terms (2008).

    • A poll by Raleigh International, has placed Michael top as the most popular TV traveller, narrowly beating Ray Mears.

    • In June 2008, Terry Jones joined with is old writing partner Michael Palin to introduce a screening of episodes of The Complete And Utter History, that the British Film Institute has recovered as part of their Missing Believed Wiped initiative.

    • Charity/Campaign Work

      December 2008, Michael was a reader at The Parkinson's Disease Society Carol Concert. The event raised money for people who suffers from Parkinson's and their loved ones.

      July 2008, Michael launched a British Airways plane with UNICEF markings to acknowledge the £25 million raised by its passengers for the charity.

      In 2008, Michael is part of the campaign "Save Kid's TV", to prevent financial pressure stopping commercial TV companies stopping production of children's programming.

      May 2008, Michael helped launched a fundraising campaign for Oxford University, as a graduate of the University. The aim is to raise £1.25bn to put the University on a par with some of the US Universities.

      In 1993, The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children was opened. He agreed to it being named after him because he had played a character with a stammer in A Fish Called Wanda, a performance he had based on his own father. Michael continues to support the centre.

    • Special Awards

      Michael was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in the New Year's List, December 31, 1999.

      The Virgin Super Voyager train number 221 130 is named after Michael.

      Michael was honoured with a plaque dedicated to him outside the Town Hall in Sheffield, his home town, in February 2007.

    • Michael witnessed a British Gurkha officer being abducted by suspected Maoist rebels while he was travelling around Nepal in 2003.

    • In January 2005, Michael Palin came in at #30 in the top 50 top comedians in the The Comedian's Comedian for Channel 4.

    • Published Works

      Michael's novel Hemingway's Chair was published in 1995.
      Michael was a noted contributor to the book The Which? Good Food Guide 2006.
      In October 2006, Michael published the first 10 years of his diaries, Diaries 1969-1979: The Python Years. The follow up to his diaries: Diaries 1980-1989: The Film Years will be released in 2009.

    • Whilst filming Full Circle with Michael Palin (1997), Michael helped to hatch a baby crocodile and asked the crew to get a shot of himself with a crocodile in his hand.

    • In a quest for a "Peter Jonesy sort of voice", the casting crew for the original radio series, The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy approached Michael to play the part of "The Book" (he turned the part down). The part was eventually given to the very "Peter Jonesy" Peter Jones.

    • Michael's father had a rather serious stutter. This came in handy when he played Ken (the stuttering thief) in A Fish Called Wanda (1988).

    • Polls

      Michael was voted by the public as the best looking Monty Python member out of the entire group.

    • Michael is a supporter of the Sheffield United Football Club.

    • Michael is 5' 9" (1.75 m) tall.

    • In 2005, Michael presented Peter Cook in His Own Words a four-part documentary about British comedian Peter Cook on BBC Radio 4.

    • Awards


      Film Award for Best Original Song for The Meaning of Life for the number "Every Sperm Is Sacred". He shared it with Andre Jacquemin, Dave Howman, and Terry Jones (1984) (Nomination).

      Film Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for A Fish Called Wanda (1988). (Won)

      TV Award for Best Actor for G.B.H. (1992). (Nomination)

      Special Award (2005). (Won)

      British Comedy Awards

      Lifetime Achievement Award (2002). (Won)

      Evening Standard Film Awards

      Peter Sellers Award for Comedy (1986). (Won)

      Saturn Awards

      Best Writing for Time Bandits (1981). He shared the honour with Terry Gilliam (1982). (Nomination)

      Video Premiere Awards

      Best Audio Commentary for: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (2001). (Nomination)

      Writers' Guild of Great Britain Awards

      Film - Screenplay for American Friends. He shared the award with Tristram Powell (1991). (Won)

    • Michael was one of the stage directors for the Monty Python troupe's stage performance: Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982).

  • Quotes

    • (On his first travelogue "Around the world in 80 days" and the attitude he had in the beginning of this part of his career)
      Michael: I went onto the boat acting like Phileas Fogg, I wore a ridiculous hat and straight white socks which made me look like someone from the school rowing eight or a junior minister on a fact-finding mission. I looked like a prat trying to play the awkward Englishman abroad. By the end of the boat trip, I'd given that up. I realised I should just be myself.

    • (On how travelling doesn't have to have a devastating effect on the environment)
      Michael: My own trip around the globe was all flightless. People should get a bit more adventurous about how they travel and use the local public transport. Obviously if you're going to the Far East or Australia you're not going to be able to take the train, you're going to have to fly. But when you get there don't take short flights, take a train or coach.

    • (On travelling even in 2008's political climate)
      Michael: I still believe we should travel and learn as we go. My experience of travel is people generally are friendly and do want to know where you come from and want to show you their own way of life - there's no shrinking of people's curiosity.

    • (on the campaign "Save Kid's TV")
      Michael Palin: Children are eager to learn, but the context of their lives is very different from that of adults. Producing sympathetic, creative, entertaining and informative programmes for them is a challenge which our broadcasters have risen to with great success. I urge them not to throw away this important opportunity to engage with children. To lose children's TV would be to lose some of our most inventive programmes and it would be a betrayal of our duty to keep television relevant to children's needs.

    • (on "Ripping Yarns").
      Michael Palin: I still feel that they were about 80 per cent successful. They were never quite right somehow.

    • (when discussing "Time Bandits").
      Michael Palin: We were trying to come up with something that was intelligent enough for kids, but exciting enough for adults.

    • (on his wife, Helen).
      Michael Palin: It's nice to know your wife didn't marry you for fame, or celebrity, or money. We got married 38 years ago. She knew me long before I was well-known.

    • (Michael talking about making the German "Monty Python" episodes.)
      Michael Palin: With the Lumberjack song I had to learn it in German. It took a whole week. I had to learn all the words, if you'll forgive the pun, Parrot fashion. I now cannot forget it but for a week I could not remember it. And now we all know a lot of silly German.

    • (Michael on his love of trains).
      Michael Palin: My father was very keen on trains and used to take me to watch them outside Sheffield. I still get quite excited by trains and I think a good train journey is absolutely the best. I prefer to be on the ground than in the air because I like to see things and I like to be able to move around. There's a certain romance and glamour to a train journey.

    • (Michael on possible reactions to the publication of his diaries)
      Michael Palin: I hope that everyone sees it as just my view, not as the truth. There's nothing I really feel worried about in the sense that I think I shouldn't have written it.

    • (Michael on serendipity of being selected for "Around the World in 80 Days")
      Michael Palin: I was fourth choice to present Around the World in 80 Days. I've absolutely no idea what I would have been doing now if Alan Whicker, Miles Kington and Noel Edmonds hadn't turned it down first.

    • (Michael on Sheffield, his home town).
      Michael Palin: There is a strong independent character in the people here. They're not like people anywhere else, they're very open and they're very frank and say what they feel and that probably helps as well.

    • (Michael on appearing in "Brazil").
      Michael Palin: ...to be able to say I've been shot in the head by De Niro. Along with the fish slapping dance, I want that on my gravestone: 'shot by Robert De Niro'.

    • (Michael on his acting career).
      Michael Palin: I love those slightly weird, off-the-wall American independents like the Coen brothers. I thought the performances were absolutely marvelous in Fargo. So for me, heaven would be playing a heavy in a Coen brothers movie.

    • (on the publication of his diaries).
      Michael Palin: I thought it's too self-regarding to publish your diaries …but part of the pleasure of them is that it's a sharing of the experience of the Seventies with those who were around at the same time. And you have to do that in your lifetime otherwise those people will be gone.

    • (when discussing his experiences of travel).
      Michael Palin: I think you learn a lot about a country from its art. To me, it's part of the drama of life. It teaches you that there are places, moments and incidents in other cultures that genuinely have a life of their own. In Manila, I wandered into a gallery that said, "Please leave your weapon by the door." It wasn't art, but it said a lot about the country all the same.

    • (when discussing the work of "The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children").
      Michael Palin: To show that there is hope, that there is another way, that the lifetime of frustration and anxiety which someone like my own father suffered, can, if we all work together, be a thing of the past.

    • (on why he said yes to "Around the World in 80 Days")
      Michael Palin: I just thought, No one will ever ask me to go around the world again and pay for me to do it.

    • (when explaining what has been occupying his time, other than his travels, in the early months of 2007)
      Michael Palin: My other current pre-occupations are watching Jack Bauer and Sheffield United both battling to save their worlds.