Monty Python: Almost The Truth. Copyright: Bill And Ben Productions / Eagle Rock Film Productions.

Monty Python: Almost The Truth

Sky Arts and BBC Two documentary. 6 episodes (1 series), 2009 - 2012. Features Danny Scheinmann, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam and Graham Chapman.

Press Clippings

Preview - Monty Python: Almost the Truth (Lawyer's Cut)

This documentary series was made back in 2009, but it is still one of my favourites, covering just about everything about Monty Python (at the time - this was still before their final shows at the O2 Arena).

Ian Wolf, On The Box, 23rd March 2017

It's been more than 40 years since the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus aired on BBC One and we never looked at comedy - let alone spam, parrots or lumberjacks - in the same way again. This documentary marks the first time the surviving Pythons have come together for a project since 1983's [v]The Meaning of Life]. Directed by Alan Parker, it features interviews with Terry Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Eric Idle, as well as archive chat from late Graham Chapman. All tell the story of how they met at Oxbridge and The Frost Report, created trail-blazing television, made the transition into movies and ultimately became a British institution. Which, like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expected.

Clive Morgan, The Telegraph, 31st July 2012

I remember being taken as a youth to a double bill of And Now for Something Completely Different and Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and thinking even then that this was an ex-comedy, it had ceased to be. (Although for some reason I was quite taken with Michael Palin's Lumberjack Song.)

For many, of course, Monty Python remains timeless and here its original players recall how the show became a hit in America, leading to the aforementioned movies. They're still amazed at Holy Grail's success, bearing in mind Graham Chapman's alcoholism and John Cleese's self-confessed diva behaviour.

Patrick Mulkern, Radio Times, 4th February 2012

Covers gallery: Monty Python stars

Ahead of Monty Python: Almost the Truth on Sky Arts 1 tonight, the Pythons on the cover of RT down the years.

Radio Times, 14th January 2012

In recent years there have been enough Python retrospectives to fill a cheese shop. But while it may not be something completely different, this six-parter has the virtue of interviews with all the surviving members of the Flying Circus troupe (plus archive of Chapman). Curiously, it was made in 2009 for the 40th anniversary of the TV series, but only a one-hour Lawyer's Cut was screened by BBC2.

In part one, Cleese, Palin, Jones, Idle and Gilliam recount their pre-1969 years, and how the rules of television were squelched by a gigantic Renaissance foot. Clips and commentary from other comedy colossi complete the package.

Mark Braxton, Radio Times, 14th January 2012

Monty Python - Almost the Truth: the BBC Lawyers' Cut began with what we can now call a Pythonesque title sequence. Over an animation of global apocalypse someone sang a Bond-style theme tune: "It's a new documentary... it's not complimentary... but it's better than a hysterectomy". True on the first and last count, but not on the middle one, since this trot through Monty Python history was actually quite flattering to the programme and the people that made it, barring Graham Chapman, perhaps, who isn't around anymore to mind. In rock-band geneology style, it traced the past pedigree of a group that eventually came together with little more than a vague wish to travel in the same direction. "It was the worst interview that anyone or any group has ever done," said Cleese, describing the terrible pitch they made to the BBC. "I'll give you 13 shows, but that's all ," replied the commissioning editor, which was what passed for rigour in those days, and the rest - after the wobbly start that all truly innovative comedies have because they've got to teach the audience a new kind of funny - was history. The best bit was Cleese's curiously barbed attempt at long-distance teasing of Terry Jones. "What Terry's never been able to accept," he said earnestly, "is that the Welsh are a subject people put on earth to carry out menial tasks for the English".

Tom Sutcliffe, The Independent, 5th October 2009

Forty years ago this week, Nixon was withdrawing troops from Vietnam, Je T'Aime topped the charts and Concorde broke the sound barrier. And then for something completely different: the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus aired on BBC One. We never looked at comedy - let alone Spam, parrots or lumberjacks - in the same way again. This new film celebrates the anarchic troupe's Ruby Jubilee and marks the first time the surviving Pythons have come together for a project since 1983's The Meaning of Life. It's archly subtitled The Lawyer's Cut and those Beeb briefs have been busy because it's slimmed down from a six-hour series screened in the US (as Terry Jones says, "a record so complete and faithful to the truth that I don't need to watch it") to just 60 minutes. Directed by Alan Parker, it features new interviews with Jones, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Eric Idle, as well as archive chat from the late Graham Chapman. All tell the story of how they met at Oxbridge and The Frost Report, created trailblazing television, made the transition into films and ultimately became a British institution. Which, like the Spanish Inquisition, nobody expected.

Clive Morgan, The Telegraph, 3rd October 2009

A paltry hour-long documentary hardly seems enough to cover the history of a television legend on its 40th anniversary, but it's nice to have, nevertheless. The surviving members of Monty Python's Flying Circus happily reminisce about their time in the comedy group in a series of brand new interviews. There's nothing that's completely different here, but sometimes it's good to go over old ground.

Mark Wright, The Stage, 2nd October 2009

The Monty Python Revolution

First broadcast 40 years ago this week, Monty Python's Flying Circus broke all the rules of comedy - and we loved it. But is it still funny today?

Marc Lee, The Telegraph, 2nd October 2009