Michael Palin is one of Britain’s best-loved TV personalities bringing joy to millions of people across the world whether it was as one of the stars of the ground-breaking Monty Pythons Flying Circus or through one of his many entertaining journeys around the world. So, armed with a signed complimentary copy of his latest book, Erebus: The Story Of A Ship, around a thousand fans packed into the Royal Hall in Harrogate to hear Palin recount the final ill-fated journey of a ship Palin has fallen in love with.
With the general release of the book only a few days earlier, Palin admits the importance of the night before joking “it’s the final of Bodyguard on BBC 1”. However, September did also mark the fifth anniversary of the wreck of the Erebus being discovered and it is the story of this ill-fated expedition which Palin bases his hour long talk on. Talking through the journey of the boat, the people who were on board the ship and the route it took, the talk sees Palin take the audience on a journey that is enthralling from start to finish.
As expected, Palin is a hugely entertaining host, part historian, part storyteller, as, through the use of a series of images and sections of the book, the hour long talk is an interesting, informative and, at times, as you would expect, humorous look back over one of the most epic and tragic sea journeys of all time. The end of the evening saw Palin open the floor up to questions from an audience who had been captivated by every word of the last sixty minutes. As Palin left the stage to huge applause and this audience filed out clutching their books, you get the impression that the finale of Bodyguard was going to have to wait for a few more hours.