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Michael Palin: A Biography

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The long awaited biography of a unique showbusiness personality, from python to televsion traveller Michael Palin's life from his Yorkshire childhood to Hollwood stardom and growth into a household name is one of the most remarkable and unique stories of showbusiness. But Palin specialises in the unexpected. Renowned for being the nicest man in showbusiness, a fact he woul The long awaited biography of a unique showbusiness personality, from python to televsion traveller Michael Palin's life from his Yorkshire childhood to Hollwood stardom and growth into a household name is one of the most remarkable and unique stories of showbusiness. But Palin specialises in the unexpected. Renowned for being the nicest man in showbusiness, a fact he would appear to detest judging from his response to press comments on it. Palin is one of the most popular figures in 90's Britain. Comic, writer, director and TV Adventurer: in Margolis's revealing Biography, palin emerges as a man of many surprises.


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The long awaited biography of a unique showbusiness personality, from python to televsion traveller Michael Palin's life from his Yorkshire childhood to Hollwood stardom and growth into a household name is one of the most remarkable and unique stories of showbusiness. But Palin specialises in the unexpected. Renowned for being the nicest man in showbusiness, a fact he woul The long awaited biography of a unique showbusiness personality, from python to televsion traveller Michael Palin's life from his Yorkshire childhood to Hollwood stardom and growth into a household name is one of the most remarkable and unique stories of showbusiness. But Palin specialises in the unexpected. Renowned for being the nicest man in showbusiness, a fact he would appear to detest judging from his response to press comments on it. Palin is one of the most popular figures in 90's Britain. Comic, writer, director and TV Adventurer: in Margolis's revealing Biography, palin emerges as a man of many surprises.

30 review for Michael Palin: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Benedict Reid

    Enjoyable enough, but reads like an extended magazine article. Also, it has a bias towards Cleese whenever discussing Python (no doubt due to his previous biography on Cleese). I was particularly surprised by a lack of Terry Jones in this story. Given that Palin co-wrote with Jones for over a decade it seems bizarre that Jones isn't a stronger force in the book. Enjoyable enough, but reads like an extended magazine article. Also, it has a bias towards Cleese whenever discussing Python (no doubt due to his previous biography on Cleese). I was particularly surprised by a lack of Terry Jones in this story. Given that Palin co-wrote with Jones for over a decade it seems bizarre that Jones isn't a stronger force in the book.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Richard Bartholomew

    This is a workmanlike popular biography of Palin, drawing on published sources but also including new interview material. The book works methodically through the various stages of his life and career, beginning with his family roots in Sheffield, schooling at Birkdale and Shrewsbury, and his time at Oxford, where he fell in with Terry Jones and Robert Hewison. In due course Palin was talent-scouted as a writer by David Frost, and his TV career developed into Monty Python and from there to film s This is a workmanlike popular biography of Palin, drawing on published sources but also including new interview material. The book works methodically through the various stages of his life and career, beginning with his family roots in Sheffield, schooling at Birkdale and Shrewsbury, and his time at Oxford, where he fell in with Terry Jones and Robert Hewison. In due course Palin was talent-scouted as a writer by David Frost, and his TV career developed into Monty Python and from there to film stardom and financial prosperity, followed by mid-life success as a travel programme presenter (with hugely popular tie-in books as well: Palin considers himself as foremost being a writer). Much is made of Palin's famous "niceness" and ordinariness - which includes a quietly contented family life in North London with the wife he first met when they were teenagers - although we also learn about his passions for public transport and very occasional tendency to flare up. The book ends with a warning that Palin has been keeping a diary, which may one day reveal some surprises. One odd habit is apparently a fondness for dining alone in restaurants while reading a book. We're told that despite having been a member of the "Crusaders" Bible study group at primary school, Palin became disillusioned with religion at some point, although this seems to have been based more on a suspicion of the establishment rather than on an intellectual repudiation of Christianity. Palin's great-grandfather Edward Palin was a vicar and Fellow of St John's, and (in fictionalised form) he was the subject of an affectionate film called American Friends. Michael Palin's interest in travel was in part sparked by missionaries speaking at church when he was a child, and this is alluded to by the use of the hymn "From Greenland's Icy Mountains" in his film The Missionary. Although The Missionary could be seen as taking a swipe at organised religion, he rather saw it as sending up Edwardian attitudes, and the books stresses that his comedy has tended to stress the silly rather than the satirical (although I'm not convinced the two are so opposed). However, Palin is uncharacteristically scathing when discussing his TV debate with Mervyn Stockwood and Malcolm Muggeridge in the wake of the Life of Brian, denouncing Stockwood's attempt to shake hands with him afterwards as "hypocrisy". Margolis shares Palin's view, dismissing the "two tub-thumping hacks, manipulative and simplistic and populist".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Shauna

    An interesting biography written in 1998, so well before the publication of the Palin diaries. There is a lot of detail about Michael Palin's early life and family background but it is sketchy on his later personal feelings and his relationships. I don't think it is the fault of the author, more that Palin has always been reserved in talking about his personal life. It will be an enjoyable read for any fans of Monty Python as it does have some insight into how the group came together and became An interesting biography written in 1998, so well before the publication of the Palin diaries. There is a lot of detail about Michael Palin's early life and family background but it is sketchy on his later personal feelings and his relationships. I don't think it is the fault of the author, more that Palin has always been reserved in talking about his personal life. It will be an enjoyable read for any fans of Monty Python as it does have some insight into how the group came together and became a worldwide success.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Yrinsyde

    An interesting work about Michael Palin's professional life. If you want to know about his private life behind the scenes, this is not the book for you - although Margolis does cover his boyhood years and when he met his wife (sparse details but enough ). This is a solid work, well researched and presents a readable account. There are some grammatical and spelling errors however, which with tighter editing could have been corrected. An interesting work about Michael Palin's professional life. If you want to know about his private life behind the scenes, this is not the book for you - although Margolis does cover his boyhood years and when he met his wife (sparse details but enough ). This is a solid work, well researched and presents a readable account. There are some grammatical and spelling errors however, which with tighter editing could have been corrected.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michael Clyma

    Fantastic, entertaining, a real page turner, a must read for all palin fans

  6. 4 out of 5

    Peter Burton

    Easy to read,informative,pleasant anecdotes ,very English so may not be suitable to non English readers.esp on his childhood

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lach

    Enjoyable.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Urban

    There are some charming little details from his childhood but few insights of worth about his adult life, apart from the idea that he's very sensible, level-headed and restrained. There are some charming little details from his childhood but few insights of worth about his adult life, apart from the idea that he's very sensible, level-headed and restrained.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Corky Alexander

  10. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

  11. 5 out of 5

    Di

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peter Langston

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jenny

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gordon

  16. 4 out of 5

    Spanishliz

  17. 4 out of 5

    Arkrayder

  18. 4 out of 5

    Angie slusser

  19. 4 out of 5

    Roy Ashcroft

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ian Clarke

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tony Hitchens

  22. 5 out of 5

    Julian Lewis

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emma Lake

  25. 5 out of 5

    Geoff

  26. 4 out of 5

    Anna Musgrave

  27. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  28. 5 out of 5

    Michael Winkler

  29. 5 out of 5

    Stuart Newman

  30. 4 out of 5

    Habaneroman Webb

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