People

And now for something completely different: Michael Palin in Heswall

By Mark Gorton at

Writer, comedian, actor, television traveller and all round good egg Michael Palin will be in Heswall on October 4.

The venue is Linghams Booksellers where Michael will be on hand between 1pm and 2pm to sign copies of his latest book.

This is a ticketed event and the price is £20, which includes a chance to meet Michael and receive a signed copy of his latest ripping yarn, the factual account of the journey of a sailing vessel called HMS Erebus. Launched in 1826 it made glorious voyages of discovery to the Antarctic before vanishing in the Arctic.

In September 2014 the wreck of the Erebus was discovered at the bottom of the sea in the icy wastes of the Canadian Arctic. It was broken at the stern and covered in a woolly coat of underwater vegetation, and its whereabouts had been a mystery for more than 150 years.

Now Michael Palin has brought this extraordinary ship and irs missions back to life. He explores the intertwined careers of the men who shared its journeys: the dashing James Clark Ross and the troubled John Franklin. And he vividly recounts the experiences of the men who first stepped ashore on Antarctica’s Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic wastes as rescue missions desperately tried to reach them.

To help tell the story, he has travelled to various locations across the world – Tasmania, the Falklands, the Canadian Arctic – to search for local information, and to experience at first hand the terrain and the conditions that would have confronted the Erebus and her crew.  

Such a story means this is the perfect time to remind ourselves of a classic Monty Python sketch – in which five Royal Navy men stranded in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean have to come to terms with the concept of cannibalism.