Sir Michael Palin KCMG, CBE, FRGS was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from SOAS in July 2008. Following an internationally renowned career as an actor and comedian, Sir Michael has more recently presented seven very successful travel series for BBC television, and written books to accompany the series. Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole, Full Circle, Hemingway Adventure, Sahara, Himalaya and New Europe have brought many cultures in remote parts of the world to public attention and interest in the UK and internationally. Following his series Himalaya Sir Michael supported the Hodgson Archive Cataloguing Project at SOAS, which catalogued the work of the first European scholar to conduct research in Nepal.
Sir Michael established his reputation with Monty Python's Flying Circus and Ripping Yarns. His work also includes several films with Monty Python, as well as The Missionary, A Private Function, American Friends, Fierce Creatures and an award-winning performance as Ken in A Fish Called Wanda.
In addition to his travel series, his numerous television credits include two films for the BBC's Great Railway Journeys, the plays East of Ipswich and Number 27, Alan Bleasdale's GBH. Sir Michael is also the author of a number of children's stories, the play The Weekend and the novel Hemingway's Chair. In 2006 the first volume of Sir Michael's diaries, 1969-1979: The Python Years, spent a number of weeks on the bestseller lists.