Monty Python's Michael Palin honoured with comedy award
Palin and Garden on slapstick event
Monty Python actor Michael Palin has been honoured for his "excellence in the field of hilarity" at Bristol's annual festival of slapstick.
Author and broadcaster Palin was awarded a bespoke statue of Morph for his work over the last four decades.
The Aardman character was presented during the gala opening of the festival of visual film comedy.
The "morphed Morph" has been specially created by model-makers at Aardman's Oscars-winning Bristol studios.
The design of the award takes its inspiration from Palin's role as the ancient 'It's.....' man featured in the title sequence of every Monty Python's Flying Circus show.
Slapstick 2010 director, Chris Daniels, said: "We've introduced the Aardman/Slapstick Silent Comedy Award for Excellence to reflect that visual comedy is alive and well and just as popular with modern audiences as it was in the heyday of silent films.
"Michael Palin is a very worthy recipient. He's been a master of the sight gag and telling expression from his very first TV appearances and even now they add character to his travel documentaries."
Thursday's surprise presentation formed part of a gala, hosted by Graeme Garden, marking the start of the four-day Slapstick festival - the biggest of its kind in Europe and rapidly becoming recognised as one of the best silent film comedy events in the world.
Other attractions include screenings, talks and live music celebrating the work of early slapstick artistes such as Buster Keaton, Harold Lloyd, Laurel and Hardy, Fred Karno and WC Fields to later exponents such as the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band, Monty Python and Kenny Everett.
Other celebrity participants include Tim Brooke-Taylor, Barry Cryer, Neil Innes and Paul McGann.
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