Monty Python's Sir Michael Palin accidentally set his house on fire

Sir Michael Palin was pulled to safety by his 86-year-old neighbour after he accidentally started a house fire. 

The Monty Python legend underwent open heart surgery last September to repair two valves and was instructed by doctors to relax at home for three months. 

However, it seems the 76-year-old didn’t quite get the memo, as his efforts to relax resulted in a house fire.

Writing for Idler magazine, Palin explained that while doing breathing exercises, he accidentally blew a naked flame towards a kitchen roll nearby – which went up in flames and set a Sainsbury’s receipt alight too. 

The A Fish Called Wanda star wrote: ‘As flames licked up towards the ceiling, I dialled the emergency services – but the moment we connected, the smoke alarm went off and I couldn’t hear a word they were saying. 

‘Just caught something about washing my hands which made me realise that, without my glasses on, I’d rung 111 instead of 999. 

‘But I washed my hands anyway, and by a fantastic stroke of luck, the loose tap that we never had fixed finally came apart, dousing the ceiling and partially extinguishing the fire.’

Luckily for Sir Michael, at that point, he was ‘pulled to safety’ from a window by an unlikely rescuer – his 86-year-old neighbour who had a sextuple bypass the week before.

He said: ‘Thank God he’d been told to take it easy, otherwise he’d have been out playing golf and my house would have been a write-off.’

Between Michael’s accident and Britney Spears burning down her gym with candles, we reckon celebrities need to go through some fire safety training, stat.

Sir Michael underwent the heart operation at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London, and a month on, he told fans in a blog post that he was no longer feeling like ‘an old Ford Anglia’.

The travel documentary-maker wrote: ‘Terrific team at Bart’s Hospital opened me up, had a look around, found a second valve that needed attention, and now instead of feeling like an old Ford Anglia I’m well on my way to feeling like a one previous owner Golf GTI.

‘The operation took over four hours but I felt very little pain afterwards. Main problem now is trying hard not to do too much.

‘My chest won’t really be ready for any gold medallions for at least six weeks, and I’m told the ticker, which enlarges to deal with the extra work-load from dysfunctional valves, may take a year to return to normal size.’

He also shared that he was looking forward to his three months off, saying: ‘Longest period without major work since I started in the biz in 1965. A chance to look around and see what others are doing. Which at the moment seems largely shouting at each other.’

While he stuck to doctor’s orders and stayed at home, Palin did make an appearance at the National Television Awards in January to accept the Special Recognition Award.

At the ceremony, the comic became emotional as he remembered Terry Jones, who had died a week earlier. 

Sir Michael said: ‘I want to dedicate this award tonight to someone who taught me more about television than anyone else, my dear friend and Python, Terry Jones. 

‘Anyone who knows or who has worked with Terry will have been infected by his enthusiasm. Terry always worked to get something right. He had a certain skill in being very ruthless but also charming at the same time.’

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