Michael Palin: “The best decision I ever made… agreeing to present Around the World in 80 Days”

The comedian chats about life after Monty Python and travelling the globe

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Excitement is building as Monty Python prepare to kick off their run of live shows tomorrow at London’s O2 arena. Yet despite the hype around the reunion tour of the most famous comedy group of all time, Michael Palin says the best decision he ever made was saying yes to his mega travelling adventure.

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“The best decision I ever made would probably be agreeing to present Around the World in 80 Days,” explained Palin in this week’s issue of Radio Times.

“I wasn’t the first person they’d asked, actually — I found out later there were about five. But they’d all sort of said, ‘oh dear, going round the world. Not sure. Let you know tomorrow.’ and when they came to me, because I love geography and travel — I’d loved that before I even did a travelling programme — I just said yes.”

Palin’s journey changed the format of travel journalism forever, he mingled with locals, documented his humorous shortcomings and followed in the footsteps of Jules Verne’s fictional hero Phileas Fogg, using overland transport only.

Leaving from London, iconic routes during Around the World in 80 Days included the Orient Express, visiting the Pyramids in Giza and Aspen, Colorado, via a hot air balloon.

“It was a good decision because we developed a way of travelling that was just a pleasure,” explained Palin. “I didn’t have to be anybody, I didn’t have to act any role, it would just be me reacting to what I saw around the world.

“We got away with it for eight series,” joked Palin, speaking ahead of the live Monty Python show.

Those without tickets can still enjoy Monty Python Live (Mostly) on TV. Comedy channel Gold will broadcast the last show in the 10-night run on 20 July.

While those looking to pick up some last minute tickets should visit the Radio Times Box Office quick, where we still have some up for grabs.


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