He was once the leader of the bizarre ‘Knights Who Say Ni!’ in the comedy film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The 75-year-old, who is receiving a substantive rather than honorary knighthood in recognition of his international contribution… Palin is recognised in the New Year Honours for services to travel, culture and geography following his successful second career as a travel writer and television presenter. The comedian becomes the first cast member of the surrealist show to receive a top honour after fellow star John Cleese previously declined, describing the system as “silly”. More than forty years later, the actor and presenter Michael Palin is to become a real-life knight, it is announced today. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.