Michael Palin: John Cleese could be 'very difficult'

Monty Python star Michael Palin has told how co-star John Cleese could be 'very difficult' to work with at the height of their fame.

Speaking at a Bafta Life in Television event, the actor, writer and presenter talked of a divide in the Python camp when the actors began to lead very different lives.

John Cleese

John Cleese (Andrew Matthews/PA)


He said: “John and Eric (Idle) had a lifestyle that was slightly more, how shall we say, complicated than ours.

“They were stars and we weren’t and the trouble with stars is they can be very difficult.”

Michael, who was being recognised for his long career in television at a night hosted by fellow comedian David Walliams, explained that while John and Eric were jetting off on exotic holidays, he and Terry Jones were 'happy to go down the pub'.

Michael Palin and David Walliams

Michael Palin and David Walliams (Grant Pollard/AP)


Speaking of his long-time comedy partner, Michael joked how in the writing room, no idea got through without John’s approval.

When asked by David how many people had to like an idea for it to work, he said: “John, and then the others.”

Michael, who reconvened with the Pythons for 10 nights at the O2 last July, added that he did not think the comedy group would be getting back together again any time soon after learning in John’s book that he had not enjoyed the tour.

The Pythons rehearsing for Monty Python Live (Mostly)

The Pythons rehearsing for Monty Python Live (Mostly) (Ian West/PA)


He said: “Having just read his very attractive if slightly overpriced autobiography, I could tell he wasn’t really keen to do a lot more. He’d got enough money by then.”

But Michael, whose career in television spans five decades, will soon be back on our screens as the narrator of a remake of the children’s TV series The Clangers.

He said: “I’m not going to give up. I’m going to try and keep going. I want to be remembered for laughter.”



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