And now for something completely different: Images of unaired Monty Python sketches revealed to mark comedy show’s 50th anniversary
- Unseen Monty Python material is revealed in anniversary Radio Times guide
- It includes pictures and scripts from sketches that never made it to air
- Radio Times is marking 50 years since Monty Python’s Flying Circus began
- Show launched their careers on the BBC and led to successful film series
A glimpse into never-before-seen Monty Python sketches is being revealed this week to mark the comedy group’s 50th anniversary.
Images from unaired skits are being shared alongside unproduced scripts and behind-the-scenes stories in The Radio Times Official Guide to Monty Python at 50.
It focuses on the history of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the troupe’s sketch show that aired on the BBC from 1969 to 1974.
The Radio Times Guide also features words from John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam and archive interviews from the 1970s including the late Graham Chapman and Terry Jones, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015 and no longer able to speak.
Unseen photos from sketches that never made it to air on Monty Python’s Flying Circus have been revealed in a new Radio Times guide commemorating 50 years since the sketch show first aired on the BBC, including one called Big Nose Sculptor featuring John Cleese
Michael Palin revealed the sketch would have been based around a sensitive artist, played by Chapman, who would get upset when John Cleese questioned the size of his nose. It didn’t get shown because it was performed during the height of Chapman’s drinking problems and he ‘couldn’t get the words right’
Another unseen photo shows Eric Idle, Cleese and Palin dressed in suits and reading the newspaper, pictured
The 116-page tribute features looks at four sketches from the off-beat comedians that never made it to air from series three, including one on revolting cocktails and another called Big Nose Sculptor.
On the sculptor gag, Michael Palin said: ‘It was very funny that there was this bust where the nose was very long and everyone was trying not to upset the artist… “I’m an artist, I do what I want, this is how I see it!”‘
The Guide, pictured, comes out tomorrow at £9.99
John Cleese said it was dropped because it was written at the height of Chapman’s problems with alcohol and that he ‘couldn’t get the lines right’, adding: ‘I thought it was a rather funny sketch’.
Following the success of the series, the Pythons went on to become one of the most successful comedy groups of all time.
They followed up the show with a series of films including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, their controversial take on the Bible story, Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and finally Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life.
After Meaning of Life in 1983, the Pythons went their separate ways and worked on solo projects, reuniting occasionally in small groups for films or charity projects.
They found individual success, with Gilliam well-known for directing feature films including Time Bandits, Brazil and 12 Monkeys, and Jones also going into directing as well as presenting history documentaries and writing children’s books and novels.
Cleese, Palin and Idle have all maintained a career on the big screen while Palin has also presented a string of travel shows.
Chapman made sporadic appearances on film and television following the last Python film but was diagnosed with cancer in 1988 and died a year later.
One of the sketches was called Half a Bee and involved Idle, Chapman and Terry Jones all dressed as beekeepers
Another of the sketches cut was called Revolting Cocktails and featured Chapman pouring drinks down Gilliam’s throat, with the latter claiming it was dropped because it was ‘probably c**p’
The surviving Pythons finally reunited in 2014 for stage show Monty Python Live (Mostly), held at the O2 Arena in London, supposedly to pay off an £800,000 legal bill they incurred in a battle over the rights to royalties from Broadway hit Spamalot, a musical version of the Holy Grail film.
They also came together again for Jones’ 2015 film Absolutely Anything in which all five remaining Pythons voiced a group of Aliens struggling to decide whether the Earth should be destroyed.
- Radio Times Official Guide to Monty Python at 50 is currently available to pre-order via the Radio Times shop https://rtshop.radiotimes.com and can be purchased from August 27 at WHSmith for £9.99.