Michael Palin blasts Melton’s Monty Python plaque ‘thief’

The plaque for Monty Python star Graham Chapman is shown being unveiled at the entrance to King Edward VII School in Melton by his brother, Dr John Chapman (centre), schoolfriend John Bailey (left) and the then head teacher, Ken Walsh EMN-151210-153613001

The plaque for Monty Python star Graham Chapman is shown being unveiled at the entrance to King Edward VII School in Melton by his brother, Dr John Chapman (centre), schoolfriend John Bailey (left) and the then head teacher, Ken Walsh EMN-151210-153613001

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Monty Python legend Michael Palin has slammed the apparent theft of a Melton plaque honouring his late co-star Graham Chapman as ‘stupid and selfish’.

The inscribed tribute which was put up 16 years ago at the entrance to Graham’s former school - King Edward VII in Burton Road - has mysteriously disappeared.

Monty Python star Graham Chapman (front row, centre) pictured in 1959 with fellow boy prefects at King Edward VII School in Melton, including John Bailey (front row, third from left) EMN-151210-153624001

Monty Python star Graham Chapman (front row, centre) pictured in 1959 with fellow boy prefects at King Edward VII School in Melton, including John Bailey (front row, third from left) EMN-151210-153624001

The school closed four years ago when education was revamped in the town and the building was boarded up.

But since then the blue-coloured plaque has gone missing with Leicestershire County Council, which owns the building, baffled about what has happened to it.

Part of the inscription on the plaque referred to one of Graham’s iconic Python lines ‘This is getting far too silly’, and after hearing about its disappearance, Michael Palin told the Melton Times: “I think it’s a very stupid and selfish thing to do, as the plaque was put there for everyone to enjoy the memory of Graham Chapman.

“He was a very silly man, and this was a very silly thing to do.”

John Bailey, who was a good friend of Graham, who attended the school from 1953 to 1959, was at the ceremony when the plaque was unveiled in February 1999.

John, of Beechwood Road, Melton, said: “It’s a bit upsetting that Graham’s plaque has gone missing. I drove up to the old school building a couple of months ago and was surprised to see it had gone.

“I’m sure Graham would have found it amusing but I’d like to know what has happened to the plaque.”

Palin unveiled a second plaque in Melton in December outside his late friend’s former family home in Burton Road.

That was a green one commissioned by County Hall while the missing school blue plaque was initiated by the then head teacher Ken Walsh.

John, a former head of maths at Melton’s John Ferneley College, believes there should be a more conspicuous plaque marking Graham’s connection to the town.

He’d like to see it placed in Nottingham Street on a wall of the card shop next door to the Bell Centre, which was formerly the Bell Hotel and a favourite drinking haunt of Graham and his friends.

The missing plaque was discussed at the last meeting of The Edwardians, a group for former King Edward VII School pupils.

Secretary Brenda Munton said: “It’s upsetting for people who knew Graham. Nobody seems to have a clue what has happened to the plaque.

“But I’m sure he would be laughing his socks off at all of this.”

Mrs Munton said the Edwardians would push for a new plaque to be put up if the old one cannot be found.

She added: “It should go back on the old school building but if that’s not preserved it would be nice to put it in the town centre to help keep his link with the town alive.”

A Melton Council spokesman said the plaque was in part of the old school site that has been retained by the county council for redevelopment.

A County Hall spokesman said: “We understand the concerns of Melton residents over the plaque’s disappearance. It was reported to have disappeared after the school closed in 2011. In 2014 we installed a new plaque at the comedian’s former home in Burton Road under our Green Plaque scheme. There are no plans to replace the previous plaque.”