Monty Python star Michael Palin reads out diaries in Highgate to raise money for charity

TV star Michael Palin shared intimate diary entries from his years of working on Monty Python and travel documentaries to raise money for a disabled children’s charity.

Never-televised sketches, alternate titles for legendary Python film Life of Brian, and a run-in with a “feral” group of children while filming in Russia were among anecdotes related to a sold-out crowd at arts and education centre Lauderdale House last week in support of Kids charity.

The stories were taken from his three published volumes of diaries, which he is about to promote in a month-long UK stage show called The Thirty Years Tour, starting today (Thursday).

On why he started a diary in 1969, Mr Palin, of Gospel Oak, told the audience: “We had just had our first child Tom, he was four months’ old. The problem was, I was a smoker – and he wasn’t.

“He went to hug me and grab me, and I had my cigarette out. I realised that these were two things that weren’t really compatible: smoking and being a good father.


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“So I gave up smoking. It was a wonderful exercise in willpower, and I thought that keeping a diary was rather similar.”

The beginning of the diaries coincides with the start of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus TV show, which Mr Palin said was initially only given a run of 13 episodes to be broadcast late at night on the BBC.

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He went on to share memories of storyboarding sketches and coming up with ideas for films with the rest of the Python comedy team.

Life of Brian was born out of an airport brainstorming session at which each member of the troupe would suggest names for a film, Mr Palin revealed.

When Eric Idle proposed “Jesus Christ: Lust for Glory”, the idea of a satirical Biblical film took hold.

The event was hosted by the Mayor of Camden Cllr Larraine Revah and raised £1,142.30 for Kids charity, a cause close to her heart.

Cllr Revah’s daughter was born 17 weeks prematurely, and weighed about 590 grams - the equivalent of half a bag of sugar.

During that time, she relied on the support of Kids charity, which helps families with disabled children.

She has now chosen the charity, which was founded in Camden, as her cause of the year.

Cllr Revah said: “Kids have really, really helped me and I was more than happy to help them. I feel really honoured to be able to give a little bit back to them.”

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