Monty Python's 50th anniversary details

Wednesday 26th June 2019, 2:21pm

  • Monty Python's Flying Circus will mark its 50th anniversary on 5th October 2019
  • A season of BFI screenings will be held throughout September, with BBC Two and Radio 4 following suit
  • New and re-released products include the group's hit books and a Blu-ray restoration of the original TV show
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.

A raft of plans and product re-releases have been announced to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus on 5th October this year.

Promoters say: "In line with the benchmark date, a variety of new releases and events will be taking place including a BBC takeover, a BFI Southbank season, the release of the fully restored Monty Python's Flying Circus series, a series of new Monty Python radio programmes, and a World Record attempt."

The Pythons themselves say: "Python has survived because we live in an increasingly Pythonesque world. Extreme silliness seems more relevant now than it ever was."

On the 50th anniversary date itself, the first official Monty Python Guinness World Record attempt for the 'Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Gumbys' will take place at "an iconic London venue". Anyone interested in taking part should join the official Facebook group.

An initial range of 50th anniversary merchandise is now available through the official Monty Python website, with further products to be announced later in the year.

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

The group's original, iconic BBC sketch series will be re-released "painstakingly restored" for the first time from the original film and video stock on which it was recorded. Remastered to HD, all 45 episodes - plus "unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more" - will be available on both high definition Blu-ray and standard DVD by Network in a limited edition box set. Pre-orders open on 29th July for a release date later in the year. The show's four series will be available to purchase individually at a later date.

September promises to be a month packed with celebration, in conjunction with BBC Radio 4 and the BFI.

For Radio 4, Michael Palin has executive produced five new specials featuring "never-before-released material from the Monty Python sound archives", which will also be aired by Sirius XM in the US.

Producers tease: "Join Michael to find out what John's mother thought about her care home, the extra unpleasant things that were planned for Eric's Brave Sir Robin, what exactly Terry Jones is so worried about, and why the infamous Fat Ignorant Bastards have never been more relevant to the world today."

At Last The 1948 Show. Image shows from L to R: John Cleese, Marty Feldman, Graham Chapman, Tim Brooke-Taylor. Copyright: Rediffusion London.

Meanwhile, the BFI will host Python season across the whole month. It's...Monty Python At 50 will feature all four Monty Python movies; oddities and curios from the depths of the BFI National Archive; back-to-back screenings of the entire series of Monty Python's Flying Circus "in a unique big-screen outing"; and screenings of post-Python TV (Fawlty Towers, Out Of The Trees, Ripping Yarns) and films (Jabberwocky, A Fish Called Wanda, Time Bandits, The Wind In The Willows, and more).

There will also be rare screenings of pre-Python shows At Last The 1948 Show (pictured above) and Do Not Adjust Your Set, and a free exhibition of Python-related material from the BFI National Archive and The Monty Python Archive. Further details about the season will be announced in July, alongside ticket sales.

Both earlier series are also being released on DVD by the BFI in their complete surviving - and restored and recreated - forms for the first time, including a raft of brand new extras: At Last The 1948 Show - Collector's Edition and Do Not Adjust Your Set - Collector's Edition.

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

On BBC Two, the group will be celebrated with broadcasts of "defining career pieces" from their archives. Details on this programming will be announced by the corporation at a later date. BBC America will air a Flying Circus marathon, plus the films Monty Python's Life Of Brian and Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

A further selection of books and records will also be published, including an issue of the best-selling compilation album Monty Python Sings (Again) - for the first time on vinyl - and with the addition of Stephen Hawking sings Monty Python... Galaxy Song, plus new packaging overseen by Terry Gilliam.

All the original Monty Python books published by Methuen since 1971, including Big Red Book and Brand New Papperbok, will be available from 4th October; whilst Carlton will publish a new 50th anniversary edition of Monty Python's Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures, which includes replicas of rarely-seen documents from The Monty Python Archive.

A newly updated version of Monty Python Speaks!: The Complete Oral History is already available to buy.

Finally, North Yorkshire's Black Sheep Brewery will be selling a special Python Cask Ale, 'A Very Silly IPA' (4.5% ABV) during September and October.

More information on product release dates and the celebratory TV and radio line-ups will be announced nearer the time.

For updates, click the buttons below.


Monty Python's Flying Circus Norwegian Blu-ray Edition

Monty Python's Flying Circus Norwegian Blu-ray Edition

Years in the making, Network presents the entire original television series of Monty Python's Flying Circus, fully rejuvenated for the first time.

Sketches, some edited for timing, taste and copyright reasons, have been carefully restored to their intended length and the majority of Terry Gilliam's animations have been newly scanned in high definition and restored to a specification way beyond their original format. Hitherto unseen outtakes, film inserts and studio recordings have been retrieved, adding yet another dimension to this exclusive release. This is the ultimate television restoration and a must for every generation of Python fan.

7 discs feature all 45 episodes presented series-by-series, for the first time totally uncut and beautifully restored from original film and videotape elements.

The restoration
After nearly a decade of research and planning, this is a ground up restoration by Network's award-winning in-house team working from the best available materials - from first generation 2-inch videotape masters to surviving negative and print film material, scanned in 2K. The wildly varying picture sources have been graded scene-by-scene and intensively cleaned up.

State of the art upscaling of standard definition videotape has been deployed with careful use of noise reduction for both video and film grain, resulting in a vastly improved viewing experience all round on Blu-ray high definition format, far exceeding anything previously available.

First released: Monday 4th November 2019

  • Distributor: Network
  • Region: All regions
  • Discs: 7
  • Minutes: 1,333
  • Subtitles: English, French, German, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese
  • Catalogue: 7958226

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David Morgan - Monty Python Speaks!: Revised & Updated Edition - The Complete Oral History

David Morgan - Monty Python Speaks!: Revised & Updated Edition - The Complete Oral History

The complete oral history of Monty Python - one of comedy's most legendary and influential troupes - publishing to coincide with the 50th anniversary of their BBC debut, with a foreword by John Oliver from hit US satire Last Week Tonight.

"Gilliam is one of the most manipulative bastards in that group of manipulative bastards. Michael is a selfish bastard, Cleese a control freak, Jonesy is shagged out and now forgets everything, and Graham as you know is still dead. I am the only real nice one!" - Eric Idle

With their dead parrots, holy grails and Spam, Monty Python revolutionised comedy for the rest of the world. They paved the way for everything from Saturday Night Live to The Young Ones to The Simpsons. Its founding members, including the supremely talented writers/performers John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, ushered in a new brand of surrealist comedy: a stream-of-consciousness sketch show that pushed the boundaries of format, style and content. Its legacy is not only important; it's monumental.

In Monty Python Speaks!, David Morgan has extensively interviewed the entire world of Python - from producers and collaborators like Douglas Adams, to the founding members themselves - to create the ultimate record of Britain's most revolutionary and successful comedy act. Packed with rare and never-before-seen photographs, and told with all the group's customary wit and irreverence (and spam), this is the inside story of a comedy phenomenon.

First published: Thursday 10th January 2019

  • Released: Monday 10th December 2018
  • Distributor: Harper Collins
  • Minutes: 691

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Monty Python's Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures

Monty Python's Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures

Carlton Books presents Monty Python's Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures, the complete history of Monty Python, with bits in.

Never before has the story of the Pythons been so brilliantly told, in words, rare and unseen photographs and hundreds of examples of removable and on-the-page facsimile memorabilia. The book recounts the story of all six members, from early days in the Cambridge Footlights, and farther afield, through early appearances on the BBC, global stardom, movie making, fights, reunions and death, to the final curtain drop in London's O2 Arena in July 2014.

The "bits" are removable facsimiles of priceless artefacts from the official Python archives and the private collections of all members, and include hand-annotated scripts, previously unseen stills, film posters, programmes from classic shows, original items of animation artwork and more.

Monty Python's Flying Circus: Hidden Treasures takes you closer to the comic creative powerhouse than ever before.

First published: Thursday 9th March 2017

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  • Released: Thursday 5th September 2019
  • Publisher: Carlton Books
  • Pages: 160
  • Catalogue: 9781787393219

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Monty Python Sings (Again)

Monty Python Sings (Again)

Monty Python's best-selling album is re-tooled for its 25th anniversary, featuring songs and ditties drawn from across their illustrious recording, TV and film career (1969 - 1983).

The new versions include brand new tracks specially recorded by Eric Idle, long-forgotten gems from the Python archives, remixed Terry Gilliam cover artwork and a 32-page booklet with notes by Robert Ross from new interviews with the Pythons.

First released: Monday 30th June 2014

Monty Python's Big Red Book

Monty Python's Big Red Book

Monty Python's Big Red Book is a humour book comprising mostly material derived and reworked from the first two series of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

The silliness includes the manifesto for The Silly Party, the Bing Tiddle Tiddle Bong Song and The Lumberjack Song - and lots of illustrations.

First published: Monday 1st November 1971

  • Released: Thursday 29th August 2019
  • Publisher: Methuen Publishing
  • Catalogue: 9780413777423

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