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Farewell to the full Monty

Features | By Harry Mount

Credit: Neil Spence Photography

Michael Palin mourns Terry Jones, his fellow Python, and tells Harry Mount about his own brush with the Grim Reaper

Michael Palin is still mourning his late fellow Python – and old university friend – Terry Jones. Sir Michael – as he doesn’t ask to be called – saw Jones just before he died in January, suffering from dementia, aged 77. ‘He clearly was very unwell,’ says Palin. ‘But I talked to him as I always did. I wouldn’t accept the dementia had shut his understanding up. It had shut his communication up.’ And so Palin suggested to Alison, Jones’s first wife, who was by his side, that they should sing one of the songs he’d written with Jones, to get some reaction. ‘We sang Every Sperm Is Sacred from The Meaning of Life,’ he says. ‘Unfortunately we couldn’t remember all the words. So if Terry was hearing me at all then, he just heard what a complete shower we were.’ Jones was asleep at the time but he did...

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