Globe-trotter Michael Palin has been recognised for his “outstanding contribution” to travel writing after receiving a prestigious lifetime achievement prize this week. The TV celebrity was honoured at the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards but the lack of women appearing in Monty Python’s Flying Circus – a major part of Palin’s earlier career – has irked comedienne tracey ullman.

Top-rated travel documentaries

The 73-year-old has certainly enjoyed a colourful and varied lifetime up to now, with his BBC TV travel experiences both delighting and enlightening viewers in equal measure.

Top-rated documentaries such as Around the World in 80 Days, Pole to Pole and Sahara have allowed Palin to attract a fresh audience after his Python days drew to a natural close.

Wrote books to accompany the series

Since the 1980s, viewers have been introduced to images and anecdotes in equal measure, as the witty presenter has shared his thoughts whilst travelling around the world. Following the visual replay of his experiences through the medium of television, Palin has then commonly written books to accompany the travel series including insights and information that were not made known previously.

Levison Wood also honoured

Palin acknowledged his latest award – presented by Levison Wood at the London Olympia – by commenting that it was a “great honour”.

He added that the “icing on the cake” was to receive the accolade from the celebrated writer and TV adventurer. But in his view, the cake itself was “that the award comes from Stanfords, the first port of call on all my travels.”

Wood recognised Palin’s major influence and inspiration on his own career as well, as he scooped the Wanderlust prize for adventure travel book of the year at the awards ceremony.

Ullman surprised by explanation

Ullman returned to our TV screens this week to showcase her impressive impersonation skills on the aptly titled Tracey Ullman’s Show. In the build-up to her latest television output, she shared her first experiences of meeting Palin and divulged the somewhat surprising explanation for the shortage of women in the Monty Python films and shows.

Despite berating Palin for not including more females in their cast list, she was slightly taken aback when he revealed that they were “rather frightened of them so it was easier for Terry Jones to do it.”

Such a candid response sums up the popularity of the veteran star and perhaps goes some way towards explaining why he has lasted so long in the entertainment industry.