Sir Michael Palin opens up about falling ill while climbing in the Himalayas

Sir Michael Palin has said he felt like he had “died and gone to heaven” after falling ill while climbing in the Himalayas.

The Monty Python star and travel presenter said he got bad altitude sickness while in the mountain range when he was 61.

Sir Michael, now 77, told ITV’s Jonathan Ross Show he was climbing a path that was meant to take around five days.

Sir Michael Palin comments
Sir Michael Palin comments

“My nose was a bit blocked, the higher you go, the less oxygen there is, I had terrible headaches and couldn’t sleep at night, feeling utterly exhausted,” he said.

He said he went to bed in the afternoon and “woke up and it was total darkness”.

“I couldn’t hear anything at all,” Sir Michael said.

National Television Awards 2020 – Arrivals – London
National Television Awards 2020 – Arrivals – London

“I did think, ‘That’s it. I shouldn’t have done this at the age of 61, that is it. This is what it must be like when you’ve died and gone to heaven’.

“I thought about it for a minute, ‘Should have said goodbye to a few people…’

“Then I heard a cough, a real bronchial cough – it was the best sound ever. I was alive, there were other human beings.”

He also reflected on his experience of meeting the Dalai Lama while filming Travels Of A Lifetime.

Sir Michael said he thinks “he would have loved Python, he had a great sense of humour and a great presence”.

He added: “Audiences come to see him, touch him, he’s absolutely revered, and still at the end of three hours of that he had time to talk to use and do an interview.

“He went up to the crew and shook hands with all members of the crew. People don’t generally do that.

“He was aware of all the people around. He was so jokes, we couldn’t use much of it. It was very nice and relaxed.”

The Jonathan Ross Show airs on Saturday at 9.30pm on ITV.