Michael Palin: A Decent Rowing Chap

Reading the Daily Telegraph this morning, I saw an interesting article about the actor, writer, etc. Michael Palin, one of the Monty Python fellows. He was interviewed by Marc Lee. I have always thought Palin seemed such a nice and decent chap, and, according to the article, he is.

One of the reasons for the article in the Telegraph, it seems, was that two films that Palin has been involved in were released on DVD today, East of Ipswich, which he wrote for the BBC, and Three Men in a Boat from 1975 (only PAL, for now). In Three Men in a Boat – of course based on Jerome K. Jerome’s famous novel – Palin plays one of the main characters, Harris. In the Telegraph article Palin reveals that Harris resembles his own father, Edward Moreton Palin.

What is not said in the article is that Palin Senior was an oarsman once upon a time, and probably could teach Palin Junior a trick or two in the noble art of rowing on the Thames. In Palin’s travelogue Michael Palin Around the World in 80 Days, which first aired on BBC in 1989 (which was followed by a book with the same title), Palin is travelling on the train “Southern Express” in India, and he writes in his book (Day 28: on 22 October [1988]):

“As the engine works harder and the air swirling into the cab becomes fresher and cooler I think of my father taking this train sixty years ago, for he visited the regatta at Poona when he worked in India as an engineer. A silver mug celebrating his part in a coxless fours’ victory and inscribed ‘Royal Connaught Boat Club, Poona 1929’ stood on our mantelpiece throughout my childhood, and, now as daylight fades, I find myself crossing the river where it was won. But Poona is now spelt Pune and it’s an awful anti-climax, grey and industrial and no sign of flanelled fools.”

And this is the reason, this entry is posted on my rowing blog! If you would like to read the entire article in the Telegraph, please click here. If you would like to watch Three Men in a Boat have a look at Youtube: search ‘Three men in a boat, 1975’.


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