Holy Flying Circus. Image shows from L to R: Michael Palin (Charles Edwards), John Cleese (Darren Boyd). Image credit: Hillbilly Productions.

Repeat Scheduled:
Sat 20th (1:40am, Gold)

Holy Flying Circus

Dramatisation of the blasphemy row that surrounded the film Monty Python's Life Of Brian

Comedy Drama
2011  (BBC Four)
Darren Boyd, Charles Edwards, Steve Punt, Rufus Jones, Tom Fisher, Phil Nichol, Stephen Fry, Simon Greenall, Michael Cochrane, Roy Marsden, Paul Chahidi & more
Tony Roche
Hillbilly Productions
& TalkbackThames

In 1979, the film Monty Python's Life Of Brian caused outrage around the world. The film depicted the life of Brian Cohen, a first-century Judean who is mistaken for the Messiah after joining an anti-Roman group.

Nuns with banners picketed cinemas, councils banned the film without even seeing it and the religious group Festival of Light organised a concerted campaign against the film, trying to get it banned.

Against this backdrop Michael Palin and John Cleese found themselves facing prominent society figures Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood, in a television debate in front of a live studio audience to defend their film against charges of blasphemy: but who won?

Written by Tony Roche (In The Loop, The Thick Of It) Holy Flying Circus is a fantastical re-imagining of the controversy surrounding the release of Life Of Brian. Witty and humorous in tone, the comedy drama incorporates surreal cutaways including puppetry and animation in telling its narrative.