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Monday, 18 October, 1999, 17:24 GMT 18:24 UK
Palin's Ernest endeavour
Michael Palin
Changing history: Michael Palin lifts a glass to writer Ernest Hemingway
By BBC News Online's Ryan Dilley

After three globetrotting series, Michael Palin has again packed his bags for a BBC One show which sees him follow in the footsteps of Nobel Prize-winning author and all round action man Ernest Hemingway.

As a lad growing up in Sheffield, Palin read of Hemingway's adventures hunting game in Africa, fighting bulls in Spain and exercising his elbow in Havana.

"He's a very persuasive traveller and a very persuasive travel writer," the former Python star told BBC News Online.

Here today, gondola tomorrow. Papa travelled the world
He became even more intrigued by the 'Papa' myth while researching his first novel, Hemingway's Chair, in which a postal worker becomes obsessed with the writer.

Palin says his admiration for Hemingway is not quite so fanatical.

"I don't like heroes. People get lazy given role models, they lay on their backs and say 'I could never do anything like that'."

Hemingway at 100

Although Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure coincides with the author's centenary, it is not intended as a straight tribute to the man who brought Pamplona and Kilimanjaro to the attention of the world.

"I wanted to find out what these places were like. I'd responded to him as a writer. Would I respond to him as a traveller?"

Michael Palin
Palin gave up smoking at the same age as Hemingway
Palin is sure how he would respond to Hemingway the hard-drinking, gun-toting, marlin-fishing man: "What a bore!"

With many today finding his taste for machismo and killing any animal that moved somewhat unpalatable, is Papa a suitable subject for a 90s travel show?

"I think he's a particularly good choice," retorts Palin. "We live in a very politically correct world and Hemingway is nothing if not un-PC. It creates a tension between the two.

Not much in common

"We're very different people. We do have some things in common. We both like lists, like writing lists, like writing about the weather and we gave up smoking at the same age."

The pair also share a wanderlust which has seen them become synonymous with exotic adventures.

"What a bore!" Hard-drinking and gun-toting Hemingway
The shows Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole and Full Circle have seen Palin attract even more fans than in his days with comic team Monty Python.

"If people see you leaving the country without a film crew they wonder what's wrong."

With so many miles under his belt, what advice does he have for fellow travellers?

Palin's unpalatable advice

"Always eat the testicles - if they're available." The star chews his way through some while learning to bullfight in the new programme.

"And always eat what's on the ground," says Palin, who packed his own food for Around the World. "I'd rather have a curry in the Gulf, prepared by Indian sailors, than a tin of Sainsbury's tuna.

"Not that there's anything wrong with Sainsbury's tuna... I don't want to upset John Cleese [fellow Python and star of the supermarket's TV adverts]."

Michael Palin
Travel shows have put Palin on top of the world
The cuisine of Havana, a favourite haunt of Hemingway, left Palin unimpressed. "I wouldn't go there for a gourmet holiday.

"It's still a wonderful city, very different to the Burger King, Gap world we're all used to."

The city also gave Palin the idea for his next show. Unfamiliar with the Dead Parrot sketch, the Cubans greeted him as the man who shared a screen with Jamie Lee Curtis in Fierce Creatures.

"Maybe I'll do 'In the Footsteps of Jamie Lee Curtis'."

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