We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our site. Click here to find out more. Allow cookies

arrow Register here

Forgotten password?


Pole to Pole was out in the autumn of 1992, but it was well into the Spring of '93 by the time I finished a long haul of international promotion for both book and series. By then all I wanted was to be at home and never go anywhere else ever again.

The trouble is I was never very good at sitting at home and doing nothing, so I sat at home and started work on what was to become my first novel, Hemingway's Chair, published in 1995 almost to the day that I started work on the film “Fierce Creatures” with my tall friend Cleese.

The post office worker who is the hero of the novel is obsessed with Hemingway and knows everything about him. So I had to know everything about him too. What struck me most forcibly in my researches was that Ernest Hemingway, boozer, brawler and dangerous friend, loved to travel. He lived most of his working life outside America in places like Spain, France, and Cuba. And he wrote powerfully well about these places.

1999 was the centenary of his birth and this pushed me into suggesting to the BBC a series based on his travels.

I always intended it to be a little different from my other journeys, and used a new director, David F Turnbull and a new producer, Martha Wailes, and we had some fun with the Hemingway legend. The audience was a little confused. Was this an old style Palin journey or not ? What was this bloke Hemingway doing in there ? Why was it only four episodes ? The ratings reflected the confusion and though both book and series did well they attracted lower audiences than my previous trips. Which is a pity, because I think the book is some of the best work I've done and Basil's photos are some of the best things he's done. Though people may have missed the simplicity of one single long journey we did visit some exotic places and do some very strange things – which is why it was called The Hemingway Adventure. I'm very proud of it. I used the same crew as on Sahara – so it looked wonderful, and John Pritchard won the BAFTA award for best sound. So there.

I'm delighted that the Hemingway Adventure is now available online. It's a bit of a hidden gem, I think. But you can judge for yourself . And of course, let me know what you think.

Happy adventures !

Michael's signature

Michael Palin, 6th January 2003.