You’ll know this fella, right?
Michael Palin has always had a nose for a great true-life tale and his latest is a real doozy. It concerns the HMS Erebus, which was launched in 1826 on an epic voyage of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic. In the book the former Monty Python stalwart explores the intertwined careers of the men who shared its journey: the dashing James Clark Ross, who charted much of the ‘Great Southern Barrier’ and oversaw some of the earliest scientific experiments to be conducted there; and the troubled John Franklin, who, at the age of sixty and after a chequered career, commanded the ship on its final, disastrous expedition. Palin vividly recounts the experiences of the men who first stepped ashore on Antarctica’s Victoria Land, and those who, just a few days later, froze to death, one by one, in the Arctic ice, as rescue missions desperately tried to reach them. The result is a wonderfully evocative account of one of the most extraordinary adventures of the nineteenth century, as reimagined by a master explorer and storyteller.An Evening with Michael Palin: Erebus: The Story of a Ship, Monday 24 September, Tyne Theatre and Opera House, 7pm, ticket and book £25.50 (or £36 for two tickets and one book). tynetheatreandoperahouse.uk