Michael reads the second volume of his diaries covering the 1980s, a decade in which the ties that bound the Pythons loosened as they forged their separate careers. After a live performance at the Hollywood Bowl, they made their last performance together in 1983 in the hugely successful Monty Python’s Meaning of Life. Writing and acting in films and television took over much of Michael’s life, culminating in his appearance in A Fish Called Wanda, in which he played the hapless, stuttering Ken (for which he won a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor), and the first of his seven celebrated television journeys for the BBC.
During these years he wrote much of the dialogue and acted in Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits and acted in his next film, Brazil. He co-produced, wrote and played the lead in The Missionary opposite Maggie Smith, who also appeared with him in A Private Function, written by Alan Bennett. For television he wrote East of Ipswich, inspired by his links with Suffolk. Such was his fame in the US, he was enticed into once again hosting the enormously popular show Saturday Night Live, in one edition of which his mother makes a highly successful surprise guest appearance. He filmed several journeys for television and became chairman of the pressure group, Transport 2000. His family remains a constant as his and Helen’s children enter their teens.