Monty Python star given invitation to tour Middlesbrough - the one place in the world he hasn't visited (From The Northern Echo)
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Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon takes to airwaves to extol virtues of the town
RENOWNED explorer Michael Palin may have crossed the Himalayas, survived the Amazon jungle and trekked to both Poles, but ask him where he hasn’t visited and his answer is always the same – Middlesbrough.
All that may be about to change as Middlesbrough Mayor Ray Mallon took to the airwaves yesterday to extol the virtues of the town on the Tees – and extend an invitation to the Monty Python star.
Mr Palin was guest editing the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 and during a discussion with the travel writers he revealed the one place he had not been to was Middlesbrough.
Mr Mallon was then introduced as a surprise guest on the programme and invited Mr Palin to sample first-hand the rich industrial and artistic history of Middlesbrough and the surrounding area after he was asked to describe the “exotic” place he lived in.
As he waxed lyrical about the virtues of the town, and promising a personal tour, Mr Mallon said a tour of chemical and other industries of Teesside would be the starting point for any visitor keen to know about the town’s heritage.
Continuing his enthusiastic soliloquy, Mr Mallon said Temenos, the mima art gallery, iconic Transporter Bridge and Middlesbrough’s Centre Square would all be of interest to visitors whilst the links between Middlesbrough and Captain Cook would be of particular interest to explorers.
Mr Palin expressed surprise that Captain Cook was from Middlesbrough, saying he thought he was from Whitby.
Picking up on Mr Palin’s soft spot for railways, Mr Mallon added that a trip to Middlesbrough could include travelling on the route of the world’s first passenger railway line – which he pointed out was later extended to Middlesbrough.
“Middlesbrough and the surrounding areas have so much to offer visitors and it would be a pleasure to show Mr Palin around,” said Mr Mallon.
At first Mr Palin seemed to warm to the idea, before saying: “Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe it should always be somewhere I’ve not been to – a destination beyond the clouds.”
The Temenos sculpture , with the Transporter Bridge in the background
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