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  • Michael Palin's Archive - Part 1

    The Times of London newspaper reported today that a Wild West Bookshop sketch and an amorous pink knight sketch, which never made it into “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” have been unearthed in Michael Palin's private archives, which are housed at The British Library, London. 


    The Pink Knight sketch was written by Michael and Terry J. It sees the knight standing in a “camp pose” and demanding a kiss from King Arthur. “None shall cross this bridge save he who shall give me a kiss,” the pink knight says. Arthur declines, and the pair struggle before falling on one another. A group of passing pilgrims sees them, leading a monk to remark: “You could at least go indoors. You landowners are all the same.”

    Michael said that the sketch would probably not be made today: “When we were writing Python in 1973, there was much more homophobia – or, rather, not homophobia exactly, but awkwardness of dealing with the whole subject of homosexuality”.

    The Pink Knight was ditched, but the Black Knight survived to utter the immortal line “Just a flesh wound” after having both arms chopped off in a sword fight with Arthur.

    In the Wild West sketch, a news reporter enters what he thinks is a saloon but is in fact “the last bookshop before you get to Mexico.” He asks if another local trading post will have beer. “Not since they started specializing in modern European authors,” the barman tells him.

    The original ending had the Camelot crew battle it out against the French and the bloodthirsty rabbit with “a vicious streak a mile wide.” But the scene was deemed too expensive, and so Arthur wound up abruptly arrested by modern-day British police instead.

    Michael gave the British Library his archives last June. The majority of the material has been catalogued and is already available in the library’s reading rooms. There were more than 50 notebooks containing drafts, working material and reflections relating to Michael’s Monty Python writing. There were also project files with material relating to his film, TV and literary work, and annotated scripts relating to Python projects.

    Archive highlights will be on display in a “Michael Palin, Writer, Actor, Comedian” exhibition in the library’s Treasures Gallery


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