Michael Palin shares grandson’s brutal message after missing his birthday to travel to Iraq
Sir Michael Palin has shared the brutal message his grandson gave him after missing his birthday to visit Iraq.
The Monty Python star embarked on a 1,000-mile tour of the country for a three-part Channel 5 series titled Michael Palin: Into Iraq.
On the reason for his journey, the 79-year-old said: “Travel is about trying to find something out that you didn’t know before, trying to expand your mind and also, in a way, to look behind the headlines.”
Speaking on This Morning on Monday (24 October), Palin shared that his family did not want him to travel to the country.
“Well, my wife, she’s generally quite keen on me doing long journeys, but Iraq, no she didn’t want me to go to Iraq, not North Korea either,” he told hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.
Palin has previously visited North Korea in 2018 for another Channel 5 travel documentary, which was later nominated for two BAFTA awards.
“She’s very tolerant and we’ve been married a long time,” he continued. “And she knows that if I didn’t go and didn’t travel, I’d be impossible to live with because I’d keep saying, ‘oh, if I were in Iraq now’. So she said, ‘well go, but look after yourself.’”
He then shared that his eldest grandson had a more brutal message for him.
The presenter continued said: “It was my eldest grandson’s birthday when we were just going on the border into Iraq and realised I better ring him up and I said, ‘I’m sorry I won’t be able to be at your birthday because I’m going to Iraq tomorrow’.
“And he just said, ‘Oh well Grandpa, stay alive to the next one.’”
Reflecting on his journey, Palin said: “There are certain countries that are branded bad countries for some reason or other and with Iraq, it was just because there’s been 30 years of violence there but the people themselves still have to live there.
“It’s sad that you’ll get a country with just one single bad reputation and I always want to look behind that and explore the better side of a country.”
The series follows Palin as he travels the course of the Tigris river from its source in eastern Turkey, through Iraq to the Persian Gulf.
Michael Palin: Into Iraq is available to watch on My5 now.