Short Interview with Michael Palin
Q&A: Michael Palin
guardian.co.uk, Saturday 12 September 2009 00.10 BST
Michael Palin, 66, was born in Sheffield and educated at Oxford University. He made his name with Monty Python's Flying Circus, who made their last appearance together in the 1983 film Monty Python's Meaning Of Life. He went on to write and appear in The Missionary, and won a Bafta for his role in A Fish Called Wanda. He has also presented several television travel series. The second volume of his diaries, Halfway To Hollywood, is out now.
When were you happiest?
Flying in over London on a cool, clean morning after a long time away.
What is your greatest fear?
Being taken seriously.
What is your earliest memory?
Buying National Health orange juice with my mother in Sheffield.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
David Attenborough, for constant good work in the face of popularity.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Doing an Eccles impersonation on the one occasion I met Peter Sellers.
What is your most treasured possession?
Ian Allan trainspotters' guide, Combined Volume 1955.
Where would you like to live?
In a palazzo off the Grand Canal.
What makes you unhappy?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
What is your favourite book?
Cassell's Dictionary Of Slang.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
Hancock's Half Hour.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Chewing the ends of things.
What would be your fancy dress costume of choice?
What is the worst thing anyone's said to you?
What do you owe your parents?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
What does love feel like?
Never having to say you're from Surrey.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Desmond Tutu, Shane Warne and Katharine Whitehorn.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"How" and "interesting".
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Not being fluent in another language.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
My footballing career.
How do you relax?
Running on Hampstead Heath.
What single thing would improve the quality of your life?
A huge kitchen.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My 15ft vertical plunge into the water during the fish-slapping dance.
What keeps you awake at night?
A really exciting day ahead.
How would you like to be remembered?
With a broad smile.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Nobody knows anything.
He will definitely be remembered with a broad smile!