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June 18 , 2009

The Complete Michael Palin Diaries


Volume I: THE PYTHON YEARS (1969-1979)

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Michael Palin's diaries begin when he was newly married and struggling to make a name for himself in the world of television comedy. But Monty Python was just around the corner . . .

Enjoying an unlikely cult status early on, the Pythons then proceeded to tour the USA and Canada. As their popularity grew, so Palin relates how the group went their separate ways, later to re-form for stage shows and the celebrated films THE HOLY GRAIL and LIFE OF BRIAN. Living through the three-day week and the miners strike, and all the trials of a peripatetic life are also essential ingredients of these perceptive and funny diaries.

Volume II: HALFWAY TO HOLLYWOOD (1980-1988)

After a live performance at the Hollywood Bowl, The Pythons made their last performance together in 1983 in the hugely successful MONTY PYTHON'S MEANING OF LIFE. Writing and acting in films and television then took over much of Michael's life, culminating in the smash hit A FISH CALLED WANDA (for which he won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor), and the first of his seven celebrated television journeys for the BBC. He co-produced, wrote and played the lead in THE MISSIONARY opposite Maggie Smith, who also appeared with him in A PRIVATE FUNCTION, written by Alan Bennett.

Such was his fame in the US, he was enticed into once again hosting the enormously popular show Saturday Night Live, in one edition of which his mother makes a highly successful surprise guest appearance. He filmed several journeys for television and became chairman of the pressure group, Transport 2000. His family remains a constant as his and Helen's children enter their teens.

Volume III: Travelling to Work (1988-1998)

TRAVELLING TO WORK is a roller-coaster ride driven by the Palin hallmarks of curiosity and sense of adventure. Michael was not the BBC's first choice for the travel series AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS, but after its success, the public naturally wanted more.

Palin, however, had other plans. There was his film AMERICAN FRIENDS, a role in Alan Bleasdale's award-winning drama GBH, the staging of his West End play THE WEEKEND, a first novel, HEMINGWAY'S CHAIR, and a lead role in FIERCE CREATURES. He did find time for two more travel series, POLE TO POLE in 1991 and FULL CIRCLE in 1996, and wrote two bestselling books to accompany them. These ten years in different directions offer riches on every page.

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