Michael Palin: Age of Presenter Into Iraq and Other Works

Actor, comedian and writer Michael Palin has a television career that dates back to the 1960s

Michael Palin presented his latest Channel 5 travel show, Into Iraq, which is now airing and follows his 1000 mile journey along the Tigris River through the historic country. The three-part documentary follows Palin’s first forays into faraway places, including the Himalayan mountain range, the North and South Poles, and North Korea.

But what else has Michael Palin been in, how old is he, who is his wife, and what books has he written? Here’s everything you need to know:

Michael Palin at the Baftas in 2019

Who is Michael Palin?

Michael Palin is a 79-year-old comedian from Sheffield who has appeared in numerous TV shows, films and documentaries over his long career. Palin studied modern history at Brasenose College, Oxford, where he met Terry Jones, with whom he would work for years.

While working as a writer on the satirical series The Frost Report, Palin met Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Eric Idle – they and Terry Jones would go on to work together as the Monty Python comedy troupe. Palin has campaigned for sustainable transportation, and in 2010 he sent a letter of support to the Dongria Kondh tribe in India who were resisting mining on their land.

Palin has received several awards during her career and was appointed CBE in 2000, and received a knighthood in 2019 for her services to travel, culture and geography. In 2019, Palin had to undergo heart surgery after a routine exam revealed he had a leaky valve.

Palin then joked that when Channel 5 suggested he shoot a travel documentary in Iraq, he had to fake heart surgery to pull it off.

What has Michael Palin been into?

Palin is best known for being a member of Monty Python, a comedy troupe that had a lasting influence on British comedy. The group of Pythons consisted of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin.

The group worked together on the sketch comedy series Monty Python’s Flying Circus which aired from 1969 to 1974, as well as the films Holy Grail, Life of Brian, Meaning of Life. The Monty Pythons have reunited several times over the decades, most recently in 2014, 25 years after Graham Chapman’s death.

Palin has starred in a number of non-Python films, including the dark comedy Death of Stalin, the celebratory animated film Arthur Christmas, the crime film A Fish Called Wanda, and the sci-fi film Brazil. He has also helmed a number of travel shows including Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya, New Europe and Brazil.

Michael Palin (left) with the other Pythons in 1982

Who is Michael Palin’s wife?

Michael Palin married Helen Gibbins, a bereavement counselor, in 1966 – the couple first met while vacationing in Suffolk in 1959. Very little is known about Helen, as Palin keeps her personal life very private .

The couple have three children together – Thomas, William and Rachel, and four grandchildren. Michael’s daughter, Rachel, is a television producer for the BBC and worked on MasterChef: The Professionals and Changing Rooms.

What books has Michael Palin written?

Palin has written 10 travel books that tie into her documentary shows – these are:

  • Around the world in 80 days
  • pole to pole
  • full circle
  • Hemingway’s Adventure by Michael Palin
  • Sahara
  • Himalayas
  • New Europe
  • Brazil
  • North Korea Newspaper
  • In Iraq

He has also written several children’s books:

  • Little Harry and toothache pills
  • The Limerick Book
  • Cyril and the House of Commons
  • Cyril and dinner
  • The Mirrorstone (with Alan Lee and Richard Seymour)

When is Michael Palin: Into Iraq on TV?

The first episode of Michael Palin: Into Iraq will air on Tuesday, September 20 on Channel 5 at 9 p.m. There are three one-hour episodes in the series and they will air at the same time each week. Episodes will also be available for viewing on My5 shortly after they first air.


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