He said: “If you’re going to assemble a team now, it’s not going to be six Oxbridge white blokes.
“It’s going to be a diverse range of people who reflect the modern world.” But in an interview with Radio Times this week, Palin dismissed the suggestion that background matters more than being funny.
He said: “What does he mean? If you’ve had a good education and you’re white you’re not able to write comedy?
“What are they going to say? ‘Oh God! The man who wrote that’s an Etonian.’ ‘But it’s hilarious.’ ‘It’s no good, he’s an Etonian!’”
The 75-year-old star met fellow Python Terry Jones at Oxford University, where the pair performed with comedy group The Oxford Revue.
John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle attended Cambridge University’s prestigious Footlights drama club, whose alumni dominated British comedy in the Eighties.
Palin added: “It [Python] is known all over the world yet they still find it difficult to deal with.”
He said the days when the BBC would commission 13 shows without asking to check the script have long gone.
Palin observed: “They want to know what you’re writing about, how long it will take, how much it will cost. It has to be checked for political correctness, ‘compliance’, ‘diversity’. It’s much more controlled.”
He also said he and Terry Jones still enjoy moments where things “click”, despite Jones, 76, who directed Monty Python’s Life Of Brian and The Meaning Of Life, suffering with dementia.
Palin said: “He can’t communicate his thoughts any more. It’s sad. I’m very fond of him and I enjoy hanging out. Occasionally things click and we can understand each other.”
The presenter stars as WM Thackeray in a new production of the 19th century author’s novel Vanity Fair.
The first episode airs on ITV1 at 9pm on Sunday.