LONDON — Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the group responsible for the launching the Ministry of Silly Walks and the Parrot Sketch on an unsuspecting world, was on Monday celebrating 40 years since the comedy sketch show was first broadcast.
The show, which was written and acted by John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman, first aired on October 5, 1969 and ran for a total of 45 episodes.
It was the Pythons’ surreal and satirical humour which shot them to global fame in the 1970s, as they broke new ground in what was acceptable in terms of both style and content.
The team went on to make at least four full length films, including “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” and “The Life of Brian,” a satire on New Testament life which angered religious groups but has been widely recognised as one of the top comedy films of all time.
They also made several albums, wrote a number of books, a stage play and a musical.
To mark the anniversary, the five remaining members of the team — Chapman died in 1989 — put together a documentary covering the history of the Python team.
Entitled “Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers Cut)”, the film marked the first time in 20 years that all five surviving Pythons have come together on a project.
The five are to be reunited once more on October 15 when they will receive a special BAFTA award for their outstanding contribution to film and television in New York.
In a special anniversary interview with the Radio Times, Terry Jones said Monty Python’s Flying Circus would have little chance of being commissioned today.
“The BBC would want to see a test version and study demographics. They never liked or understood it. It was touch and go if they’d commission a second series,” he said.
BAFTA last honoured the Monty Python team in 1987 when they were presented with an awards for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.