Correction: This story was originally published based on wire copy from Press Association news agency.
It has since transpired that the article written by Sir Michael Palin in Idler magazine was intended as a spoof of his time spent recovering from heart surgery and the events detailed in the story did not actually take place.
“The kitchen on fire story is a complete work of fiction, written by me for a regular comic column I contribute to the Idler magazine,” said Palin via a representative.
The original story appears below.
Sir Michael Palin has shared how his life was saved by an elderly neighbour after he inadvertently set his own house on fire while recovering from heart surgery.
It came as the Monty Python star was told by doctors to rest at home after undergoing open-heart surgery in September.
The 76-year-old ran into trouble when doing breathing exercises to aid his recovery as he accidentally sent kitchen roll into a flame before things escalated when he attempted to extinguish the fire.
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“I leapt up and grasped a hand towel, which briefly smothered the flames before itself catching alight," Palin wrote in Idler magazine.
“In some alarm now, as flames licked up towards the ceiling, I dialled the emergency services – but the moment we connected, the smoke alarm went off and I couldn’t hear a word they were saying.
“Just caught something about washing my hands which made me realise that, without my glasses on, I’d rung 111 instead of 999. But I washed my hands anyway, and by a fantastic stroke of luck, the loose tap that we never had fixed finally came apart, dousing the ceiling and partially extinguishing the fire.”
Thankfully, the travel documentary star was then "pulled to safety" through a window by an 86-year-old neighbour who himself had undergone heart surgery the week prior, with Palin noting his luck that the man had been on rest and was able to come to his rescue.
Palin's reveal of his blaze battle comes in the same week Britney Spears divulged that she'd ended up burning down her home gym.
The pop star said it was several months ago that she had two candles burning before "one thing led to another" and it was burned down.