Monty Python's Flying Circus Page 6

Monty Python's Flying Circus. Image shows from L to R: Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam. Copyright: BBC.

Monty Python's Flying Circus

Highly influential off-the-wall 1970s sketch series, starring John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman and Terry Jones

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Kenneth

  • Sunday 27th January 2019, 4:50pm
  • Australia
  • 5,208 posts
Quote: Aaron @ 27th January 2019, 1:20 PM

Interesting array of explanations for this! The previous reasoning I'd heard was that he felt they were starting to repeat themselves and so didn't feel able or interested in participating.

Sat at his own table to avoid silly antics:

The BBC had offered us a fourth season, and John was definitely not keen on the idea. For him, the Canadian tour was the tipping point. He hated it. He took to dining alone at a table in the same restaurant as the rest of us, reading a book and pointedly ignoring us as we got rowdier and rowdier. He had some silly idea for a sitcom he wanted to do, about an angry hotelier, set in a British holiday hotel in Torquay...Well, good luck with that. He decided to turn down another Python series. Graham broke the news on the flight to our final gig in Vancouver. To those of us who were enjoying the newfound adulation, John's decision seemed crazy. To Graham, who needed the money, it was disastrous. He persuaded us to do a fourth season without John.

And as Carol Cleveland recalled the same episode:

Everyone started getting rather serious then and concerned, because everyone really wanted to continue with Python, and it was a period when John had decided that he really didn't want to go any further. The friction was noticeable and he was not an easy person to be with. The most difficult period I remember was when we were touring the stage show in Canada, and he was just so unfriendly to everyone. I hadn't realized quite what was going on with him until we got there and I was taking it personally at first--I thought, "Oh, no, he doesn't like me anymore, what have I done?" And they were, "No, Carol, he's going through one of his questioning periods in his life," like what's life all about, and of course he was going through his divorce with Connie.
I remember one evening he wouldn't socialize with any of us, we would all go and have a meal after the show and John didn't want to talk with anyone after the show--he just would go off and do his own thing. I can remember one evening when the rest of us all went off to a restaurant and at the end of the meal we were just getting ready to pay our bill when we noticed over in the corner there was John, he had been there all the time, and he was just getting up and leaving. So we quickly paid up our bill and went after him, about five or six of us. I remember going down this road, down a hill, and he's sort of striding along as he did and we were sort of tiptoeing, having had a few drinks we were all giggling: "Oh, let's all pounce on John!" We were tiptoeing up behind him and he'd suddenly hear something and he'd stop, and we'd all jump into a doorway and hide and then quickly tiptoe up behind him. He'd stop, we'd stop in another doorway. He was obviously aware by now that we were coming, and we got about four feet from him and he turned on us and pulled himself up to his greatest height and looked out and--I have never seen such an evil look! He just screamed and abused us and we're all shaking in pure terror, thinking, "We better not do that again!"

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TheBlueNun

  • Monday 28th January 2019, 3:14pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 2,536 posts
Quote: Kenneth @ 27th January 2019, 4:50 PM

Sat at his own table to avoid silly antics:

The BBC had offered us a fourth season, and John was definitely not keen on the idea. For him, the Canadian tour was the tipping point. He hated it. He took to dining alone at a table in the same restaurant as the rest of us, reading a book and pointedly ignoring us as we got rowdier and rowdier. He had some silly idea for a sitcom he wanted to do, about an angry hotelier, set in a British holiday hotel in Torquay...Well, good luck with that. He decided to turn down another Python series. Graham broke the news on the flight to our final gig in Vancouver. To those of us who were enjoying the newfound adulation, John's decision seemed crazy. To Graham, who needed the money, it was disastrous. He persuaded us to do a fourth season without John.

And as Carol Cleveland recalled the same episode:

Everyone started getting rather serious then and concerned, because everyone really wanted to continue with Python, and it was a period when John had decided that he really didn't want to go any further. The friction was noticeable and he was not an easy person to be with. The most difficult period I remember was when we were touring the stage show in Canada, and he was just so unfriendly to everyone. I hadn't realized quite what was going on with him until we got there and I was taking it personally at first--I thought, "Oh, no, he doesn't like me anymore, what have I done?" And they were, "No, Carol, he's going through one of his questioning periods in his life," like what's life all about, and of course he was going through his divorce with Connie.
I remember one evening he wouldn't socialize with any of us, we would all go and have a meal after the show and John didn't want to talk with anyone after the show--he just would go off and do his own thing. I can remember one evening when the rest of us all went off to a restaurant and at the end of the meal we were just getting ready to pay our bill when we noticed over in the corner there was John, he had been there all the time, and he was just getting up and leaving. So we quickly paid up our bill and went after him, about five or six of us. I remember going down this road, down a hill, and he's sort of striding along as he did and we were sort of tiptoeing, having had a few drinks we were all giggling: "Oh, let's all pounce on John!" We were tiptoeing up behind him and he'd suddenly hear something and he'd stop, and we'd all jump into a doorway and hide and then quickly tiptoe up behind him. He'd stop, we'd stop in another doorway. He was obviously aware by now that we were coming, and we got about four feet from him and he turned on us and pulled himself up to his greatest height and looked out and--I have never seen such an evil look! He just screamed and abused us and we're all shaking in pure terror, thinking, "We better not do that again!"

Thank you for quoting all of this - it's fascinating. Cleese seems a very odd man to work with, that's for sure.