Michael Palin: Monty Python will “rally around” Terry Jones after his dementia diagnosis

But by the sounds of things, there'll be no more reunions of the comedy troupe

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The Pythons will rally around actor, comedian and director Terry Jones following his diagnosis with dementia and speech-limiting aphasia, says Michael Palin. 

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One sixth of the Monty Python comedy troupe, Palin tells this week’s Radio Times magazine, “I’ve known that Terry’s memory was fading for a couple of years. This is progressive and the loss of the ability to speak is one of the things it brings.

“I grew up with a father who stammered and that was difficult enough for him. But for words just not to even be there, not to utter anything, it’s a terrible sad thing to befall anyone.

“I saw John [Cleese] yesterday and there’s nothing much we can do but stand there and say, ‘Oh God, what has happened to our friend?’ But the Pythons will rally around.”

Speaking more generally about the iconic group, who made comedy history over four TV series, several films and other appearances, Palin also revealed that their recent 2014 comeback shows were among the most stressful moments in his career.

“Going on stage at the O2 in front of 15,000 people at the age of 71,” he said when asked what his bravest moment was. “Having to be as good as we were 40 years ago or people would say. ‘Oh, it’s a load of old farts just staggering on stage.'”

So perhaps unsurprisingly, he’s not keen for another return to the world of Monty Python – a view held in contrast to some of his colleagues.

“I thought we should bring the curtain down after the ten shows we did,” Palin said.

“I wouldn’t say everybody in the Pythons sympathised exactly with my view, but I think everybody understood it. There were no recriminations.”

He concluded: “It was great and remarkable. We are not a very sentimental bunch but I think that’s the bond that we all feel, ‘My God, we’re the only ones that have ever been Pythons.’ No-one else can ever experience it.”

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Learn more about Michael Plain’s new documentary, his opinions on the post-Brexit world and more in the new issue of the Radio Times magazine, on sale from Tuesday.

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