Miriam Margolyes Explains Why She'll Never Work With Piers Morgan Or John Cleese
Miriam Margolyes has never been one to shy away from sharing her opinion – which is part of the reason she’s considered by so many to be a national treasure.
In a new interview with The Times published over the weekend, the Bafta winner certainly lived up to her reputation, as she shared why she has no desire to ever appear on John Cleese or Piers Morgan’s shows on GB News and TalkTV, respectively.
“There are two people I’d never appear with: one is John Cleese and the other is Piers Morgan,” she explained.
Miriam went on to claim she previously turned down a “large sum” of money to appear as a guest on one of Piers’ shows, adding: “I think he’s a bad man and I think John’s a bad man.”
In her autobiography This Much Is True, released in September 2021, Miriam spoke more about her history with John Cleese, accusing him of behaving in a “vicious” way towards her while they were both amateur actors at Cambridge university.
“The three years I spent at Cambridge gave me everything I have,” she wrote. “That was a time when I was fully alive, when I fully became myself. But I lost my smile a little when I performed in the Footlights revue of 1962.
“I didn’t like the Footlights boys and they really didn’t like me. They made that obvious. When I say ‘they’, I refer to a most distinguished group: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie, Humphrey Barclay (later Head of Comedy at LWT), Tony Hendra and Tim Brooke-Taylor.
“The only girl in the show, I was a pert little madam and thought I was as good as they were — and they didn’t. My perception was that they thought I was a jumped-up, pushy, overconfident, fat little Jew. But I was funny, and they didn’t like it.
“If you think about it, the Monty Python shows didn’t feature funny women, only the occasional dolly bird. And I certainly wasn’t that.”
Later, she added: “The treatment I received from those Footlights boys was diminishing, pointed and vicious. On reflection, it is they who diminished themselves.
“I admire the creation of Monty Python and The Goodies and I think they were men of genius, but they were not gentlemen. John Cleese, Bill Oddie and Graham Chapman were total shits — and they have never apologised. The only one who did was the late Tim Brooke-Taylor.”
Addressing Miriam’s claims on Twitter, the Fawlty Towers later wrote: “Miriam Gargoyles says that Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie and I behaved badly towards her when she was in the 1962 Footlights Revue.
“I must defend my old friend Bill Oddie here. He wasn’t in the 1962 Footlights revue.”