bookshelves: radio-4x, summer-2014, published-2006, amusing, epistolatory-diary-blog, autobiography-memoir, britain-scotland, nonfiction
Recommended for: BBC Radio Listeners
Read from July 12 to 18, 2014
He has such a lovely face.
Description: “Michael Palin is not just one of Britain’s foremost comedy character actors, he also talks a lot. Yap, yap, yap he goes, all day long and through the night . . . then, some nights, when everyone else has gone to bed, he goes home and writes up a diary.” –John Cleese
“For Palin it has been one hell of a ride, but he seems to have maintained equilibrium all along the way. . . . In sum, it’s tempting to call him a Renaissance Man. But that, as any Pythonite would be quick to tell you, would be silly.” –Jonathan Yardley, “The Washington Post Book World”
Michael Palin has kept a diary since he was newly married in the late 1960s, when he was beginning to make a name for himself as a TV scriptwriter, and Monty Python was just around the corner.
This volume of his diaries reveals how Python emerged and triumphed, how he, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, the two Terrys–Jones and Gilliam–and Eric Idle came together and changed the face of British comedy. But this is but only part of Palin’s story. Here too is his growing family, his home in a north London Victorian terrace, his solo effort as an actor,” ” and his writing endeavours (often in partnership with Terry Jones) that produce “Ripping Yarns” and even a pantomime.
Meanwhile, Monty Python refuses to go away: his account of the making of both “The Holy Grail” and the “Life of Brian” movies are page-turners, and the sometimes extraordinary goings-on of the many powerful personalities who coalesced to form the Python team makes for funny and riveting reading.
Episode 1: The Monty Python star recalls the influential comedy troupe’s huge success in the 70s and the making of their first film.
2/5 Recalling the Python team’s success in America and the start of their own solo projects.
3/5 The comic actor and travel writer reflects on his relationship with his ailing dad.
4/5 The comic actor shares his surreal experience of guest hosting a big American TV show.
5/5 The actor and writer recalls how the influential comedy group reconvened in 1977.