Sir Michael Palin reveals he had same heart surgeon as Alan Bennett

Michael Palin has spoken about the impact of his recent open heart surgery. Picture: Getty
Michael Palin has spoken about the impact of his recent open heart surgery. Picture: Getty
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Sir Michael Palin has revealed he shared the same heart surgeon as fellow Yorkshireman Alan Bennett – and even bumped into the playwright in hospital.

In an interview with The Yorkshire Post Magazine being published on Saturday, the Monty Python star talks about his experience of being admitted to St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London in September for open-heart surgery after getting increasingly breathless.

Sir Michael was honoured at the National Television Awards this week.

Sir Michael was honoured at the National Television Awards this week.

He said: “I was opened up by the same surgeon who’d done Alan Bennett earlier in the year – I met Alan in the waiting room.

“I was in hospital for one week, had immediate convalescence and was then told to take three months off and do nothing.”

Sir Michael, who was interviewed before the death of fellow Python star Terry Jones, said his heart surgery had changed his perspective on life.

“I now feel aware that ageing isn’t just about getting older,” said the 76-year-old, who was born in Sheffield.

Playwright Alan Bennett. Picture: Getty

Playwright Alan Bennett. Picture: Getty

“It’s also about the body becoming prone to more difficulties. I value each day now. I look out the window and see things more. I feel intense pleasure that I’m still alive.”

Alan Bennett recently revealed his health problems in 2019 in a diary piece for the London Review of Books.

In it, he wrote: “A big hole in this year’s diary when in April I was found to need an open-heart operation: leaking aorta, aneurysm and blocked artery.

“With no symptoms to speak of, it came as a complete surprise and knocked me out for three months, with the diary unreadable (and illegible). Blame the anaesthetic.”

In his August entry, he said he had just undergone a heart bypass.

Sir Michael is now editing material for the fourth volume of his diaries and planning another travel documentary.

“I want to go somewhere I haven’t been before and learn a lot that I didn’t know,” he said.

Buy Saturday's Yorkshire Post to read the full exclusive interview with Sir Michael Palin