How Monty Python’s Michael Palin became fascinated with the doomed Franklin ship

In the summer of 2014, after wrapping up the latest revival of the Monty Python comedy troupe, a 10-day stage performance in London, Michael Palin was looking for a new project. He had turned his boyhood love of geography and exploration into a post-Python career as a popular travel writer, but now Palin wanted—in Python jargon—“something completely different,” preferably having to do with Joseph Hooker, the eminent Victorian botanist and traveller. That’s why, two weeks after he...

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