Monty Python Graham Chapman honoured with plaque on Highgate pub
He will always be remembered for being a very naughty boy.
And on Thursday a plaque in memory of Monty Python Graham Chapman was unveiled on the side of his local pub, The Angel Inn, in Highgate – where he was known to have drank “often and copiously”.
Fellow Pythons Terry Jones and Michael Palin were there to celebrate the life of Graham over a pint or two.
“He did love a drink.” Palin told the Ham&High. “Graham would sit at the bar and entertain people.
“He sometimes entertained too much. At one point he was even barred.”
The memorial was organised by Chapman’s family, friends and former colleagues following the news that English Heritage dropped plans for an ‘official’ blue plaque to the pipe-smoking star, who studied medicine at Cambridge, due to budget cuts.
Palin said: “This was Graham’s manor. I spent many happy times with him, most of which I forget. This is where he was and we use to come up to see him here.
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“Highgate was his patch and he should be celebrated because he was a very good, brilliant, funny, nice, wise, kind man, who occasionally drank too much.”
The inscription on the plaque reads: ‘Graham Chapman, a very naughty boy, 8 January 1941 to 4 October 1989, comedian and writer, member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, drank here often and copiously.’
However, Palin added: “He was a wise man Graham. He would have been very enlightening in his old age. He was good at encouraging younger authors.”
Also at the gathering was Ray Davies, front man of The Kinks, who had fond memories of “his good friend.”
“We use to meet up in the Angel,” he said. “I remember when a woman collapsed outside the pub one night.
“Graham was a trained doctor and ran out to help. He tore off the woman’s blouse and said don’t worry I’m a doctor, and she said, no your not, you’re a comedian!”
David Sherlock, Chapman’s partner, said he was “thrilled to bits” to see the plaque go up in the comedian’s name.
Remembering tales of his past, he said: “I remember when he was banned from this very pub when he brought his dog in one Christmas.
“The dog peed on the Christmas tree and fused the lights. He had to write a letter apologising profusely.”
The British Comedy Society (BCS) has previously honoured comedians such as Tony Hancock, Kenneth Williams and Frankie Howerd.
Gareth Hughes, BCS chairman, said: “Monty Python were like the Beatles of comedy.
“A group of writer-performers who changed the rules and conquered the world.
“Graham in many ways represented the lunatic spirit of Python, so it‘s entirely appropriate that he should be celebrated with a BCS blue plaque on the side of his local pub.”
The life and times of Graham Chapman will also be honoured in the upcoming cinema release of A Liar’s Autobiography – The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, written by and starring Chapman.
A Liar’s Autobiography is a 3D animated feature, based on his book of the same name, which will have its UK premiere at the London Film Festival in October and will be released in the UK on January 25.
Original audio recordings of a reading by the author, recorded before his death from cancer in 1989, have been ingeniously used to provide Chapman’s voice.
The film is Chapman’s own take on his bizarre life and re-unites fellow Pythons, Cleese, Jones, Palin and Gilliam for the first time in 23 years, playing themselves and other characters.
The film has been directed by childhood friends Ben Timlett and Bill Jones, who is also Terry Jones’ son.
See next Thursday’s edition of the Ham&High for more photos of the plaque unveiling.