Michael Palin

Last updated on the 28 April 2024 by Evandrus

Michael Palin headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 5 May 1943, Sheffield, England. 

Michael Palin as born in Broomhill, Sheffield, England. He attended Birkdale Preparatory School and later Shrewsbury School before going on to study history at Brasenose College, Oxford. It was during his time at university that he became involved in comedy writing and performance.

In 1969, Michael Palin joined the groundbreaking sketch comedy show “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”. Alongside other members such as John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, he contributed to the show’s unique blend of surreal humor. The success of the series led to several films including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975) and “Life of Brian” (1979), both of which featured Palin’s memorable performances.

After Monty Python disbanded in 1983, Michael Palin embarked on a new career path as a travel documentarian. His first major series was “Around the World in 80 Days” (1988), where he attempted to recreate Jules Verne’s fictional journey. This marked the beginning of many successful travel documentaries over the years exploring diverse regions such as Europe (“Pole to Pole”, 1992), Asia (“Himalaya”, 2004), North Korea (“Michael Palin in North Korea”, 2018), among others.

Aside from his television work, Michael Palin is also an accomplished author. He has written numerous books based on his travel documentaries, providing additional insights and anecdotes about his experiences.

Michael Palin has actively supported various charitable causes throughout his career. He served as President of the Royal Geographical Society from 2009 to 2012, using his platform to promote geographical education and awareness.


Suggested viewing


Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979)

Monty Python's Life of Brian poster

Bftv 10.0 / IMDb 8.0

In “Monty Python’s Life of Brian”, a man named Brian is mistaken for the messiah in Judea during the time of Jesus. Despite his protests, he becomes entangled in religious and political turmoil, leading to hilarious misunderstandings and absurd situations that satirise religion, society and human nature.

Top cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland.


A Private Function (1984)

A Private Function poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.5

“A Private Function” is a British comedy set in 1947. The story revolves around the efforts of a couple, Gilbert and Joyce Chilvers, to illegally raise a pig for their private feast during the period of post-war rationing. Their actions lead to hilarious encounters with local authorities and eccentric characters in their small town.

Top cast: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Richard Griffiths, Liz Smith, Alison Steadman, Jim Carter.


The Meaning of Life (1983)

The Meaning of Life poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.5

“The Meaning of Life” is a comedy by the Monty Python troupe. It presents a series of sketches that explore various aspects of human existence, including birth, education, war, sex and death. With its absurd humor and social commentary, the film satirises societal norms and tackles existential questions in a unique and hilarious way.

Top cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terence Bayler.


Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail poster

Bftv 9.5 / IMDb 8.2

“Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is a film that follows King Arthur and his knights on their absurd quest for the Holy Grail. Packed with surreal humour, it parodies the medieval legend with iconic scenes, memorable characters. and clever wordplay. The film hilariously deconstructs traditional storytelling while delivering laughs throughout.

Top cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth.


Monty Python’s and Now for Something
Completely Different (1971)

Monty Python's and Now for Something Completely Different poster

Bftv 9.5 / IMDb 7.5

“And Now for Something Completely Different” is a sketch comedy film based on the television series “Monty Python’s Flying Circus” . It features sketches from the show’s first two series, recreated for an American audience that hadn’t yet seen the series. The film weaves together iconic sketches like the “Dead Parrot,” “The Lumberjack Song,” and “Nudge Nudge” in an attempt to break into the US market.

Top cast: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth.


Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969)

Monty Python's Flying Circus poster

Bftv 9.5 / IMDb 8.8

“Monty Python’s Flying Circus” was a groundbreaking sketch comedy TV show that aired from 1969 to 1974. It featured surreal and irreverent humour, combining slapstick, wordplay and clever social satire. The show’s unique style revolutionised comedy on television and inspired generations of comedians worldwide.

Top cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth.


Pole to Pole  (1992)

Pole to Pole Michael Palin poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.4

“Pole to Pole” is a travel documentary series hosted by Michael Palin. In this adventure, Palin embarks on a journey from the North Pole to the South Pole, covering diverse countries and cultures along the way. Through his witty observations and encounters with people, he provides an entertaining exploration of our world’s vastness and diversity.

Top cast: Michael Palin, Basil Pao, Nick Conway, Jim O’Brien, Fred Gray, David Attenborough.


Ripping Yarns (1976)

Ripping Yarns Michael Palin poster

Bftv 9.5 / IMDb 7.9

“Ripping Yarns” is a television series created by Michael Palin and Terry Jones. Each episode tells a different adventure story set in various historical periods, featuring absurd situations and eccentric characters. The series humorously parodies classic adventure tales while showcasing Palin’s comedic brilliance and storytelling abilities.

Top cast: Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Denholm Elliott, Gwen Taylor, Iain Cuthbertson, Joan Sanderson, John Le Mesurier, David Griffin.


The Missionary (1982)

The Missionary poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.2

“The Missionary” is a comedy set in the early 20th century. It follows Reverend Charles Fortescue, a young and naive missionary who is sent to London to raise funds for his mission work. Through humorous encounters with eccentric characters, he faces moral dilemmas and finds himself entangled in unexpected risqué situations.

Top cast: Michael Palin, Maggie Smith, Trevor Howard, Denholm Elliott, Graham Crowden, Phoebe Nicholls, David Suchet.


Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


Michael Palin Gallery



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