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Michael Palin: Terry Jones is laughing at his own jokes

Sir Michael Palin with Terry Jones (Ian West/PA)
Sir Michael Palin with Terry Jones (Ian West/PA)

Terry Jones is still laughing through his dementia, fellow Monty Python star Sir Michael Palin has said – but at his own jokes.

Jones, 77, was diagnosed with a form of dementia which has left him unable to communicate.

Sir Michael, 76, told The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show that he visited Jones recently, taking a book they had written together more than 30 years ago.

The comedian and Life Of Brian director laughed but only at the parts that he had written.

Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Sir Michael Palin and Terry Jones
Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Sir Michael Palin and Terry Jones (Philip Toscano/PA)

“The other day I took a book that we’d written together in the 1980s called Bert Fegg’s Encyclopaedia Of All World Knowledge, which was sort of an anarchist children’s book,” Sir Michael said.

“I read some of it – the things we’d written together – and amazing because Terry suddenly smiled and began to laugh.

“But the key thing,” Sir Michael added, “was that he only laughed at the bits that he’d written! I thought, that shows that something is ticking over!”

Despite the laughter, Sir Michael said his friend is “not terribly well. The kind of dementia he has is not something that can be cured particularly – it’s just a matter of time.

“I go and see him, but he can’t speak much, which is a terrible thing.

“For someone who was so witty and verbal and articulate and argued and debated and all that, to be deprived of speech is a hard thing,” the presenter and author told the Radio 2 show.

Monty Python have been celebrating 50 years of the comedy troupe.

The six-strong group first appeared on the BBC on October 5 1969 and went on to have global success with their often surreal comedy.

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