Michael Palin talks about his novel 'Hemingway's Chair', writing, travel, and how Monty Python was pitched to the BBC.

Describing himself as someone who has been a writer all his life, Michael Palin particularly enjoys writing books. The subject of his latest one is an Ernest Hemingway obsessed assistant postmaster in a small English village. 

The novel also deals with how the institution of the local post office is under threat, and the impact this has on a community, but ultimately is about 

The oddball, someone who stands up for his own rights...and that I feel is very important.

Would 'Monty Python’s Flying Circus’ still get the go-ahead today, if it were pitched as a television series? Most likely not, thinks Palin, as management and planning back then were very different. Python owes its existence to 

The whim of one man who happened to work for the comedy department of the BBC, and he’d had rather a good lunch.

After that, the Pythons were left to their own devices and the iconic comedy series was brought into being from a BBC basement. 

 This episode of The Late Late Show was broadcast on 7 April 1995. The presenter is Gay Byrne.