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Michael Palin on Terry Jones dementia battle: ‘It’s only a matter of time’

The Independent logo The Independent 30/11/2019 Jacob Stolworthy
Michael Palin, Terry Jones are posing for a picture © Provided by The Independent

Michael Palin has revealed his Monty Python co-star Terry Jones is “not doing terribly well” in his fight against dementia, adding that “it’s just a matter of time”. Jones was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia in 2016 and Palin, who regularly visits his friend, said his condition has worsened in recent months.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE)  (L-R) Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and John Cleese pose backstage after their performance on the opening night of "Monty Python Live (Mostly)" on July 1, 2014 in London, England.  (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images) © 2014 Getty Images LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 01: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) (L-R) Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and John Cleese pose backstage after their performance on the opening night of "Monty Python Live (Mostly)" on July 1, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

When asked by Zoe Ball how Jones was getting on, he told the Radio 2 presenter: “Well, not terribly well – the kind of dementia he has is not something that can be cured particularly. It’s just a matter of time. “I go and see him, but he can’t speak much, which is a terrible thing.” Palin added: “I mean, for someone who was so witty and verbal and articulate and argued and debated, to be deprived of speech is a hard thing.”

Comedians (L-R) Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones in a sketch from the BBC television series 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', circa 1970. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times via Getty Images) © Radio Times Comedians (L-R) Michael Palin, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones in a sketch from the BBC television series 'Monty Python's Flying Circus', circa 1970. (Photo by Don Smith/Radio Times via Getty Images) He shared a story about how, during a recent visit, he brought a book they wrote together in the 1980s called Bert Fegg’s Encyclopaedia of All World Knowledge, and was tickled to see that Jones would only laugh at the bits he had written without Palin.

“I thought, ‘That shows that something is ticking over’,” he said. Jones met Palin at Oxford before they rose to fame in Monty Python, alongside John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle.

Gallery: 50 years of 'Monty Python's Flying Circus' (StarsInsider)

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