Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and John Cleese in rehearsals for the London show / PA


16 November 1837

Henry Crabb Robinson lawyer, writing about the 18-year-old Queen Victoria: "The Bishop of London told [the lawyer Thomas] Amyot, that when the bishops were first presented to the Queen, she received them with all possible dignity, and then retired. She passed through a glass door, and, forgetting its transparency, was seen to run off like a girl, as she is. Mr [Thomas] Quayle, in corroboration of this, told me that lately, [to] a maid of honour… she said: 'I do think myself it is good fun playing Queen.' This is just as it should be. If she had not now the high spirits of a healthy girl of 18, we should have less reason to hope she would turn out a sound sensible woman at 30."

19 November 1739

John Wesley theologian and funder of Methodism: "I was greatly troubled in dreams; and about 11 o'clock, waked in an unaccountable consternation, without being able to sleep again. About that time (as I found out in the morning) one who had been designed to be my pupil, but was not, came into the Porter's lodge (where several persons were sitting) with a pistol in one hand. He presented this, as in sport, first at one, and then at another. He then attempted twice or thrice to shoot himself; but it would not go off. Upon his laying it down, one took it up, and blew out the priming. He was very angry, went and got fresh prime, came in again, sat down, beat the flint with his key and, about 12, pulling off his hat and wig, said he would die like a gentleman, and shot himself through the head."

19 November 1979

Michael Palin: "Started work on the new Python movie. We had a general chat about the world. The Anthony Blunt spy story is top news at the moment. Have we not become as established as the Establishment we seek to kick? Are we not really licensed satirists? Keepers of the Queen's Silly Things…"