The late 60s must have been an amazing time to be old enough to experience it to the max. Aside from the Beatles and the whole British Invasion that followed, I’m not sure what was in the water at the time but just the amount of things or events that have celebrated their 50th anniversary beginning just last year is mind boggling. It started off in 2018 with the 50th of one of the two most iconic children’s television series on PBS, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, followed this year with the upcoming 50th celebration of the other PBS kids series, Sesame Street. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Woodstock, the Apollo 11 moon landing and…the 50th anniversary of the first broadcast of Monty Python’s Flying Circus on BBC1.
I’m not quiet sure whether it’s harder to believe that it’s been 50 years this year since MPFC first aired in the U.K. or that I remember watching 45 years ago as an innocent young lad in Dallas, TX when KERA, the PBS station in North Texas, became the first TV station in the United States to broadcast the program in October 1974.
In celebration of the 50th, original Python member, Michael Palin, will exec-produce and oversee a series of five radio specials for BBC radio containing never-before-released audio from the comedy troupe which will play on the BBC in the U.K. and then go out in the U.S. later this year on Sirius XM. In addition to the myriad of celebrations planned for the coming months, producers have teased some of the unreleased material in true Python-fashion.
“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,” the producers said as they announced the series.
Aside from the unreleased audio, the British Film Institute’s riverside base on London’s South Bank will include screenings of a restored Monty Python’s Flying Circus series. There will be rare screenings of pre-Python shows At Last the 1948 Show and Do Not Adjust Your Set and post-Python work from the group, including Fawlty Towers, Ripping Yarns and movies such as Jabberwocky and Time Bandits.
In the U.S., BBC America will run a marathon of Monty Python’s Flying Circus episodes, plus Monty Python’s Life of Brian and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. UMC and Virgin EMI will be re-issuing Monty Python Sings (again) on double vinyl, with the addition of the Stephen Hawking Sings Monty Python…Galaxy Song track and new artwork overseen by Terry Gilliam.
“Python has survived because we live in an increasingly Pythonesque world,” they said in a joint statement. “Extreme silliness seems more relevant now than it ever was.”
In: Odds & Sods