Palin: Last-minute Python rehearsal

This Is Lancashire: The Monty Python team are returning in the summer The Monty Python team are returning in the summer

Michael Palin has said rehearsals for The Return Of Monty Python are being left until the last minute - because the group of "old" performers want to save their energy for the live shows.

The comedy troupe make their much-anticipated return this summer at the 02 Arena in London, in their first new show in three decades.

Asked about the rehearsals, the comedian said: "They're not going at the moment. We won't really start rehearsing properly until about two weeks before.

"We've got a script, we know the material, but we don't want to peak too early, we're old blokes!"

Michael said he was looking forward to the shows, and wished they would come along a little earlier.

"I love playing comedy with those guys, and I hope that we can relax into it and have fun because if we don't have fun, the audience won't either," he said.

He added: "The speed at which the tickets sold was astounding to us all. So there are a lot of friends of Python out there, and as you rightly say, I don't think anybody's going to come along who doesn't like us.

"Apart from the sketches that are well known there's a few new bits and pieces. Certainly the presentation will be different from anything we've done before.

"The visual stuff is so hi-tech these days that we can integrate Graham Chapman (the late Python member) much more.

"It'll probably be quite moving, to see Graham up there. But it does mean we're all together in a way."

He admitted that the motivation for the reunion was "purely financial", after a film producer who claimed a share of profits from Spamalot, won a High Court royalty fight with the Monty Python comedy team.

"There have been previous suggestions, but this time it's partly because we've had this court case hanging around ... and court cases don't come cheap," Michael said.

"Something had to push us into it, but I think if we hated the sight of each other and couldn't face the prospect of learning all those sketches again, we wouldn't have done it."

:: The Complete And Utter History Of Britain, created by Michael Palin and fellow Python Terry Jones, is available on DVD and Blu-ray now. For further information about Michael's stage show Travelling To Work see: www.palinstravels.co.uk.

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