Miriam Margolyes Doubles Down On Past Comments About 'Puny Tadpole Of A Person' John Cleese

The Bafta winner described the Fawlty Towers creator's past behaviour towards her as "poisonous".
Miriam Margolyes and John Cleese
Miriam Margolyes and John Cleese
Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock

Miriam Margolyes has once again taken aim at John Cleese, with whom she briefly collaborated during their days at Cambridge.

Last year, the Bafta winner named the Fawlty Towers creator as one of two people she’d never want to work with, having previously accused him of behaving in a “vicious” way towards her in the past.

“That was a time when I was fully alive, when I fully became myself. But I lost my smile a little when I performed in the Footlights revue of 1962,” she wrote in her 2021 memoir This Much Is True.

“I didn’t like the Footlights boys and they really didn’t like me. They made that obvious. When I say ‘they’, I refer to a most distinguished group: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie, Humphrey Barclay (later Head of Comedy at LWT), Tony Hendra and Tim Brooke-Taylor.”

She added: “The treatment I received from those Footlights boys was diminishing, pointed and vicious. On reflection, it is they who diminished themselves.

“I admire the creation of Monty Python and The Goodies and I think they were men of genius, but they were not gentlemen. John Cleese, Bill Oddie and Graham Chapman were total shits — and they have never apologised. The only one who did was the late Tim Brooke-Taylor.”

Miriam in January 2018
Miriam in January 2018
Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The Monty Python star’s name came up again during an interview with Miriam published in The Guardian over the weekend, when she described his past behaviour as “poisonous”.

John was a brilliant comedian in his day, but something has turned,” she opined. “Like milk, he’s gone sour. He’s an irrelevance.”

“Cleese is a puny tadpole of a person,” Miriam later claimed.

Addressing Miriam’s claims about him on X (then still known as Twitter) last year, John Cleeese wrote: “Miriam Gargoyles says that Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie and I behaved badly towards her when she was in the 1962 Footlights Revue.

“I must defend my old friend Bill Oddie here. He wasn’t in the 1962 Footlights revue.”

John Cleese in September 2020
John Cleese in September 2020
Dave J Hogan via Getty Images

HuffPost UK has contacted John Cleese’s representatives for comment.

But the star of A Fish Called Wanda isn’t the only prolific name Miriam was critical of during her Guardian interview.

She also lambasted Stanley Johnson (“the worst old person I know” and “a complete arsehole”), Mick Jagger (“a miserable cunt”), Arnold Schwarzenegger (“a very boring man”) and the Conservative party en masse (“Brexit is an appalling catastrophe. A deliberate appalling catastrophe for which the Tories should fry in hell”).

Read her full interview here.


What's Hot