Forty-three years ago, Michael Palin led the Knights Who Say "Ni!" in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Now, he's about to become a knight in real life.
As reported by Nerdist, Palin is among the honorees of the UK's 2019 New Year Honours list. Those who make the list are recognized for what the official Investitures website describes as "outstanding achievements, personal bravery and services to the UK and British Overseas Territories." In Palin's case, he's being honored not for his contributions to entertainment as part of Monty Python, but rather "for services to travel, culture and geography" as Palin has had a second entertainment career as a travel host. He's also written a number of travel books.
"That exposure to travelers has taught me a lot about the importance of understanding other people's points of view and learning from other people's lives and other people's cultures, as well as them learning from ours," Palin said. "I may just have a quiet celebration, just myself and a glass of Horlicks and then go to bed."
For those who are unfamiliar, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a 1975 British comedy film that takes on the legend of King Arthur. The film sees the Monty Python comedy group -- made up of Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Palin -- portray various characters as King Arthur (Chapman) travels Britain with his quire, Patsy, in search of men to join his Knights of the Round Table. The film spawned quite a few memorable characters, including Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir-Lancelot and Sir Not-Appearing-in-this-Film, but perhaps the most memorable part of the film was when Arthur and his followers encounter The Knights Who Say "Ni!", a group of knights who shout "Ni!" to scare people and refuse to allow Arthur passage through the forest unless they give a gift of shrubbery.
The skit has held a special place within pop culture ever since, so much so that Nerdist even got Batman voice actor Kevin Conroy to read the skit along with Batman Beyond producer Alan Burnett and Batman: The Animated Series writer Paul Dini earlier this year.
As for Palin, he's taking the honor in stride.
"I have been a knight before, in Python films," Palin said. "I have been several knights, including Sir Galahad. I don't think it will sink in until I see the envelopes addressing me as Sir Michael Palin."