Michael Palin’s Tour of the Best Loved Monty Python Sketch Locations

In 1999, trav­el pre­sen­ter and found­ing mem­ber of Mon­ty Python, Michael Palin, led view­ers on a tour of Python­land, a col­lec­tion of unre­mark­able Lon­don loca­tions where some of the com­e­dy troupe’s most famous sketch­es were filmed.

Unlike fel­low Python Ter­ry Jones, the pleas­ant woman who responds to Pal­in’s knock at 94 Thor­pe­bank Road is not expect­ing a new gas cook­er, though judg­ing from the way she is dressed, she is await­ing a tele­vi­sion crew. Hav­ing spent sev­er­al decades lis­ten­ing to boys (and then men) inces­sant­ly recit­ing their fave Python bits, it’s a tri­fle hard for me to believe that any­one could claim zero knowl­edge of the show’s exis­tence. Maybe things are dif­fer­ent here in the States…

For­tu­nate­ly for the tele­vi­sion audi­ence, old Joe, next door at no. 92, does remem­ber the show’s takeover of the neigh­bor­hood, includ­ing John Cleese’s sil­ly walk out of no. 107, back when it was a shop.

The star betrays his age at the West Lon­don home that was the set­ting of the Seduced Milk­man skit. Palin is less shocked that the scant­i­ly clad Don­na Read­ing has been replaced by a dis­in­ter­est­ed young bloke in an apron than that the small size of the room served as a hold­ing pen for the punch­line’s five oth­er way­ward milk­men. Me too. I can’t imag­ine a 21st-cen­tu­ry crew agree­ing to lug their equip­ment up a flight of stairs, let alone shoot in a room that’s no big­ger than it appears to be on film.

Palin also swings by Ted­ding­ton Lock to demon­strate his fabled Fish Slap­ping Dance with a uni­formed atten­dant and no fish. At the end of every call, Palin presents the cur­rent occu­pant with a fac­sim­i­le Eng­lish Her­itage plaque. (More than ten years lat­er, Palin toast­ed the instal­la­tion of a fake blue plaque hon­or­ing his late col­league Gra­ham Chap­man at the lat­ter’s favorite pub.)

If you’re a Python pil­grim look­ing to make a day of it, here are a few more spots that will round things up to an even dozen. The no-longer-in-print Japan­ese guide­book that Palin relies on in the videos is some­thing of a grail, but only to those who speak Japan­ese.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Mon­ty Python’s Best Phi­los­o­phy Sketch­es

Watch All of Ter­ry Gilliam’s Mon­ty Python Ani­ma­tions in a Row

Watch Mon­ty Python’s “Sum­ma­rize Proust Com­pe­ti­tion” on the 100th Anniver­sary of Swann’s Way

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is a Brook­lyn-based author, per­former, direc­tor and the Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her@AyunHalliday

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  • Lizzie says:

    Please,is there any­way to get hold of to this film­ing ‚Micheal Palin spoke to Joe Line at no.92 whilst plac­ing a blue plaque.
    Joe was a rel­a­tive and sad­ly passed away leav­ing no images of him­self.
    This film would mean he was­n’t for­got­ten. Can any­one help .
    Thanky­ou in antic­i­pa­tion

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