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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
MP in The Times `Eye` by Louise on 7 March 2004 3:19pm
Oops, a day late but none of you noticed it anyway ;-)

Interview with Michael in the Eye supplement yesterday which suggested he`s out and about promoting the DVD release of both P2P & The Best of MPFC.

Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by Godfather on 7 March 2004 4:58pm

I honestly did'nt know Michael was back in the country. The last i'd heard, he was back over in Asia re-filming certain sections for Himalaya. This is the most up to date news i've heard about him. I think it's time for a "2004 message" from Michael.
Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by Diamond on 7 March 2004 6:46pm
out and about where and when - says lyn panicking she might have missed him somewhere!!!
Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by Louise on 7 March 2004 7:11pm
Maybe I shouldn`t have used the phrase `out and about promoting`, sorry. More likely `in the study writing Himalaya and on the phone to journalists promoting` type thingy ...

;-) Lou

Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by Louise on 7 March 2004 7:13pm
Then again, he might pop up on the telly when we least expect it!
Do not use too much or it will loose fleece and it will be nude. by sillyoldgem on 8 March 2004 3:45am

March 06, 2004

A python's tale
Michael Palin gives Ed Potton a taste of the full Monty

“Michael Palin,” John Cleese once wrote, “is not just one of Britain’s foremost comedy character actors. . . he also talks a lot.” But the hesitant voice that greets me on the phone doesn’t tally with the description by Palin’s fellow Python. Nowadays, of course, Palin is more of a traveller and writer than a comedian, and I’ve disturbed him in the middle of writing the companion book to Himalaya, the fifth travelogue he has made for the BBC, to be shown this autumn. But duty calls: he’s promoting the release of two DVDs — Pole to Pole and The Best of Monty Python’s Flying Circus — that intertwine the two most successful strands of a 37-year career.

Pole to Pole (1991), in which Palin travelled north to south along the 30° E line of longitude, was the sequel to the hugely successful Around the World in 80 Days (1989). The latter, Palin says, “seemed like a doddle” in comparison. “A lot of 80 Days was spent rather comfortably in the bowels of ships,” he remembers, warming to his theme. “Pole to Pole was almost all overland, and through a rapidly changing and sometimes violent world. Kenneth Kaunda, who had ruled Zambia for 30 years, had gone; Ethiopia had just come out of a civil war. We like to think we changed the world!” The caution has evaporated; in its place is the affability beloved of housewives everywhere.

Aside from giving him a ringside seat to political upheaval, Pole to Pole saw Palin break two ribs rafting on the Zambezi river and miss his boat from Cape Town to Antarctica. “It set me off in a slightly different direction,” he admits. “Having realised that audiences liked to see difficulties, we took on Full Circle, Sahara and now Himalaya.”

The last will feature an incident that became headline news in Britain. Palin and his team were filming Gurkha recruitment in Nepal when a group of Maoist rebels asked some of the officers with them to meet their superiors in a forest nearby. Next morning, one man was missing, and the alarm was raised. But 48 hours later, he was released unharmed. Palin recalls how polite the rebels were; it seems apt that the incident was infused with such niceness.

Ah yes, the N-word. “Oh God!” he sighs. “Journalists always bring this up because they created it. I don’t know what to do about it apart from murder somebody.” But surely what he has called his “ruthless niceness” has been pivotal to both his travelogues and his involvement in the Python team? “I am more inclined to conciliation than confrontation, and always have been,” he agrees. “The important thing about Python was we had the balance. John, Graham (Chapman) and, to a certain extent, Eric (Idle) had a great deal of anger about certain things. It gave the comedy a tight, tough edge. I perhaps brought in more of the surreal, silly, whimsical ideas, which sometimes were necessary. Otherwise you’d become a sort of screeching, preaching group.”

Although he admits to cringing at the inconsistency of some of the early shows, the spirit of Python informs all he has done since. “The great thing about having done Python is it acts as a reminder to avoid being too pompous. I was talking about shirt production in a factory in Bangladesh recently, and I thought, ‘Am I reverting to the kind of person we sent up?’”

Nowadays, travelling and writing are the priority. He has no plans for pure comedy projects, unlike Idle, who is currently working on a musical stage adaptation of Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the provisional title of Spamelot. Palin has not been involved — “It’s entirely Eric’s idea” — other than to give his blessing. He certainly won’t be performing — Cleese has suggested that the ageing Pythons would keel over from heart attacks if required to go on stage every night. So who would he choose to perform the Palin roles? There’s a warm chuckle, closely followed by an answer that’s an appropriate blend of the the absurd and the modest: “Probably the Dalai Lama. We met him doing Himalaya and he’s absolutely wonderful. He is a bit older than me, but he’s a lot wiser and funnier.”

The Best of Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Pole to Pole are both out on DVD. Himalaya starts in the autumn.

Copyright 2004 Times Newspapers Ltd.
Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by sillyoldgem on 8 March 2004 3:47am
Was posting that patronising or helpful? Please do inform and i shaln't do again if it is the former.
ah OXo
Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by Izot on 8 March 2004 5:31am
Are there any pictures? =D
Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by sillyoldgem on 10 March 2004 5:34pm
Nah! (hehe you hound).
Re: MP in The Times `Eye` by Izot on 11 March 2004 8:35am

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