Pre-‘Monty Python’ sketch, thought ‘ceased to be’, discovered merely stunned after 50 years!

Photo: ITV

Four thought to be lost episodes of The Complete and Utter History of the British Islescreated in 1969 by soon-to-be Pythoners Michael Palin and Terry Jones, have been found by the ITV Archive team as part of a huge project to fully identify every archive asset ITV holds,

The series had been sitting in the ITV vaults though miscataloged for decades, but through the identification program we were able to make this remarkable find. We flagged it to our colleagues in streaming, had the film cleaned and restored from the 16mm telerecordings and then finally made available to our viewers for the first time since the original broadcasts,” a company spokesperson told British Comedy Guide.

The original spoof documentary was a six-part series that led almost directly to the creation of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. It aired in January and February of 1969, with the Python troupe forming not to long after, debuting its own show in October of that year on the BBC. Python came to America in October 1974 courtesy of KERA, the PBS station in North Texas.

This discovery follows on the heels of a number of thought to be lost episodes of Doctor Who found last year. Sadly, a number of episodes of older series and sketches have been lost over time due to the BBC’s reuse of videotapes as a cost-saving measure.

Thankfully, in today’s tapeless society of syndication, there’s a pretty good chance we won’t ‘lose’ any more episodes tucked away in someone’s garage. Sadly, there are some series that should be ‘lost’ forever but that’s another story for another day.

In: Comedy