Monty Python to reunite for stage show

It's been more than 30 years since the last proper Python project as David Sillito reports

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All of the surviving members of comedy group Monty Python are to reform for a stage show, one of the Pythons, Terry Jones, has confirmed.

"We're getting together and putting on a show - it's real," Jones told the BBC.

"I'm quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!"

The reunion is expected to be announced officially at a press conference being held in London on Thursday.

John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Jones are all due to appear at the event, which was first revealed in the Sun.

Eric Idle also tweeted on Monday: "Only three days to go till the Python press conference. Make sure Python fans are alerted to the big forthcoming news event."

He added on Tuesday: "Python meeting this morning. Can't wait. Press Conference Thursday will apparently be live on Sky News. I'll get you the online URL."

John Cleese The Ministry of Silly Walks is an iconic Monty Python's sketch

Actor and musician Neil Innes - who worked with the Pythons and appeared in the films Life of Brian and Holy Grail said it was "a surprise".

"The idea of John doing the silly walks with two false hips is very amusing," he told the BBC.

"They influenced everyone in their generation," he continued, "It was the shock of the new. When we were schoolboys, that was The Goon Show. Then they came along, just after the Beatles and they were like the Beatles of comedy."

Comic actor and Python fan David Schneider told BBC 5 live that he took news of the reunion with mixed emotions.

"The worry is, what if its rubbish, as you get older and wealthier and part of the establishment, you lose your edge comedically.

"I'm sure they'll do new stuff, I'd be very disappointed if its all old sketches."

The last time the five remaining members of the iconic comedy group appeared together was in 2009 at their fortieth anniversary celebrations in New York.

The sixth member of the comedy troupe, Graham Chapman, died in 1989.

The press conference will take place at the theatre where Monty Python's Spamalot is running - The Playhouse Theatre in London's West End.

Earlier this year, a film producer won a High Court case against the surviving members of Monty Python over royalty rights to the hit stage show.

Mark Forstater, who produced the 1975 film Monty Python and The Holy Grail, claimed he was underpaid royalties since the musical's launch in 2005.

He estimated he was entitled to more than £200,000.

The six members of the team got to know each other firstly through university, and later through their work on television comedy programmes, including The Frost Report.

The Pythons' hugely successful, zany BBC TV series, Monty Python's Flying Circus, effectively threw away the rulebook of traditional sketch writing, dispensing with punchlines and allowing sketches to blend into each other or simply stop abruptly.

Monty Python Graham Chapman (top left) died in 1989

The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus was broadcast on 5 October, 1969.

It ran for four series and spawned spin-off records, books and even German-language specials.

Gilliam's unique animation style became a key element of the show, segueing seamlessly between any two completely unrelated ideas.

The comedy group made their successful film Monty Python and the Holy Grail on a small budget in between filming the third and fourth series of their TV show.

Their next film was the highly controversial Monty Python's Life Of Brian, released in 1979.

Telling the story of a man mistaken for Jesus, the film was attacked by Christian groups and banned in some areas.

Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life was released in 1983 and was another financial and critical success, winning the jury prize at Cannes film festival.

John Cleese, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman Life of Brian featured the classic song Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

The Pythons also went on to forge successful solo careers while continuing to collaborate with each other.

Cleese famously co-wrote the hugely successful BBC TV comedy series Fawlty Towers, which first ran in 1975, with Connie Booth, who had appeared in Monty Python's Flying Circus. He also wrote the hit comedy film A Fish Called Wanda in 1988, in which he starred with Palin.

Gilliam pursued a film career, and his credits include 1981's Time Bandits, which he co-wrote with Palin, who starred in it alongside Cleese. Gilliam's futuristic 1981 fantasy film Brazil also featured Palin, while 1988's The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, about the supposed travels of the baron, featured Idle.

Palin and Jones went on to write together, and Palin starred in their comic TV series Ripping Yarns, a collection of tales that make "ripping good" television.

Eric Idle Idle performed at the London Olympics closing ceremony last year

Four Python members - Jones, Idle, Cleese and Palin - also appeared in Jones's 1996 adaptation of Kenneth Grahame's novel The Wind in the Willows.

Cleese has also had a hugely successful acting career including roles in Clockwise, two James Bond films and two Harry Potter films.

Palin has also starred in films including The Missionary and A Private Function and has of course made a huge name for himself with his award-winning travel documentaries.

Idle went on to create spoof Beatles band The Rutles and wrote the hit Spamalot musical.

He also performed Always Look on the Bright Side of Life at the 2012 Olympics closing ceremony in London.

Jones wrote the screenplay for the movie Labyrinth and he has also written and presented historical documentaries for TV.

Chapman did a lecture tour in the US and took on various film projects including The Odd Job and Yellowbeard before his death from cancer 24 years ago.

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