Michael Palin Sparks Confusion With Spoof Article About House Fire

The Monty Pyton star penned an article for Idler magazine after undergoing heart surgery last year.

CLARIFICATION: This story was originally published based on wire copy provided to HuffPost UK in good faith by the PA Media news agency.

It has since come to light that the Idler magazine article written by Sir Michael Palin, on which the story was based, had been intended as a spoof about his recovery from heart surgery, and the events he describes did not actually take place.

Speaking via his representative, Sir Michael said: “The kitchen on fire story is a complete work of fiction, written by me for a regular comic column I contribute to the Idler magazine.” The original story appears below.

Sir Michael Palin
Sir Michael Palin
Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

Sir Michael Palin has claimed he was rescued by an elderly neighbour after accidentally setting fire to his house.

The Monty Python star said he was recovering at home after having open heart surgery last September, when he started the blaze.

The 76 year old had been told to do breathing exercises to help with his recovery, but accidentally blew kitchen roll towards a naked flame and it caught fire.

Writing in Idler magazine, Michael said he had his 86-year-old neighbour, who had also just undergone heart surgery, to thank for saving his life.

He claimed: “I leapt up and grasped a hand towel, which briefly smothered the flames before itself catching alight.

“In some alarm now, as flames licked up towards the ceiling, I dialled the emergency services – but the moment we connected, the smoke alarm went off and I couldn’t hear a word they were saying.

“Just caught something about washing my hands which made me realise that, without my glasses on, I’d rung 111 instead of 999. But I washed my hands anyway, and by a fantastic stroke of luck, the loose tap that we never had fixed finally came apart, dousing the ceiling and partially extinguishing the fire.”

At that point, Sir Michael said, his neighbour wrenched open the window and pulled him to safety.

He added: “Thank God he’d been told to take it easy, otherwise he’d have been out playing golf and my house would have been a write-off.”

HuffPost UK has contacted a representative for Sir Michael Palin for additional comment on this story.

Sir Michael underwent his heart operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London last year.

A month into his recovery, he told fans that he was no longer feeling like “an old Ford Anglia”.

In a blog post, he wrote: “I’m well on my way to feeling like a one previous owner Golf GTI.

“My chest won’t really be ready for any gold medallions for at least six weeks, and I’m told the ticker, which enlarges to deal with the extra work-load from dysfunctional valves, may take a year to return to normal size.”

He added: “Longest period without major work since I started in the biz in 1965. A chance to look around and see what others are doing. Which at the moment seems largely shouting at each other.”


What's Hot