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Monty Python's Flying Circus: Collectors Edition Megaset [1969] (21 discs)

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Writer:Eric Idle
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Michael Palin
Terry Gilliam
Terry Jones
Composer:Neil Innes
Length:1350 minutes
(22 hours 30 minutes)
MPAA Rating:TV-14
Suggested Event Use:April Fools
Sorting Category:TV Show
IMDB Rating:9.4/10
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Classifications:
  • Comedy
  • Cartoon
Available Formats:
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Synopsis: The sketch comedy show that defined the genre.


Reaction: Very funny, though at times inappropriate.


Personal Rating: 8/10

Select Guest Cast
Barbara Lindley => Bride (Archaeology Today)
Barry Cryer => Herman Rodrigues (Untitled)
Carolae Donoghue => Vera's Husband's Mistress (Untitled)
Bob Raymond => First Duke (The Golden Age of Ballooning)
Caron Gardner => Mary (Grandstand)
David Hamilton => Himself - Thames TV Announcer (Grandstand)
Connie Booth => Best Girl / Various (The Ant, an Introduction)
The Fred Tomlinson Singers => Mounties Choir / Singing Miners / Various (The Ant, an Introduction)
David Ballantyne => Ivan the Terrible / Various (Intermission)
Dick Vosburgh => Van der Berg (Owl-Stretching Time)
Katya Wyeth => Various / The Art Critic's Wife / Girl Seducing the Singer (Owl-Stretching Time)
Donna Reading => Girl in bed / Girl in laboratory (You're No Fun Anymore)
Douglas Adams => Various / Dr. Emile Koning - Surgeon (The Light Entertainment War)
Neil Innes => Singing Airman (The Light Entertainment War)
Peter Woods => BBC Presenter (The Light Entertainment War)
Ewa Aulin => Harrassed Woman (Full Frontal Nudity)
Rita Davies => Various / Distraught Wife (Full Frontal Nudity)
Flanagan => Anona Winn / Various (The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Goes to the Bathroom)
Mary Toomey => Herself (The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra Goes to the Bathroom)
Frank Lester => The Late Professor Thynne (L. Henry Thripshaw's Disease)
Rosalind Bailey => Elizabethan Girl (L. Henry Thripshaw's Disease)
Frank Williams => Clerk of the Court (Whicker's World)
Nigel Jones => Various (as Nigel Whicker Jones) (Whicker's World)
Fred Tomlinson => Superintendent McGough (The All-England Summarise Proust Competition)
Ian Davidson => Various / Clerk of the Court (How to Recognise Different Types of Trees from Quite a Long Way Away)
Jeannette Wild => Second Secretary (Deja Vu)
Jimmy Hill => Himself (Hamlet)
John Hughman => Various / Loony / Seventh Gas Man (Face the Press)
Stanley Mason => Eighth Gas Man / Various (Face the Press)
Julia Breck => Rita / Puss In Boots (Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris' Ford Popular)
Lulu => Herself (Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris' Ford Popular)
Ringo Starr => Himself (Mr. and Mrs. Brian Norris' Ford Popular)
Lyn Ashley => Schoolgirl / Various (Live from the Grill-o-Mat)
Marie Anderson => Girl interviewing the announcer (The Nude Man)
Marjorie Wilde => Dear Old Lady (The Spanish Inquisition)
Nicki Howorth => Miss Bladder (Salad Days)
Nosher Powell => Jack Bodell (Dennis Moore)
Peter Brett => Door-to-Door Martial Arts Salesman (Party Political Broadcast)
Reginald Bosanquet => Himself (Royal Episode 13)
Richard Baker => Himself - BBC News Anchor (Blood, Devastation, Death, War and Horror)
Sandra Richards => 'Semprini' Girl (The Buzz Aldrin Show)
Vincent Wong => Mr. Kamikaze (How to Recognise Different Parts of the Body)
Select Cast and Crew
Ian MacNaughton => Director
John Howard Davies => Director
Eric Idle => Writer / Various
Graham Chapman => Writer / Various
John Cleese => Writer / Various / Announcer
Michael Palin => Writer / It's Man / Various
Terry Gilliam => Writer / Various / Animations
Terry Jones => Writer / Various
Neil Innes => Composer
Carol Cleveland => Various Roles
Daphne Davey => Various Roles
Helena Clayton => Various Roles

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • Other possible names for the series were [Gwen Dibley's Flying Circus], [Owl-Stretching Time] (which was used as the name for one episode), [Bun, Whackett, Buzzard, Stubble and Boot], [A Toad Elevating Moment], [Sex and Violence], [A Horse, a Bucket and a Spoon]. One early working title for the series was simply, [It's...]
  • The theme music is the concluding portion of [?] John Philip Sousa's {Liberty Bell March}. Reportedly, one of the chief reasons the song was used is that it was in the public domain and no royalties would have to be paid (the opening part of the march makes an appearance in the [James Bond] film Octopussy).
  • The head of comedy at the BBC said that the title had to include the word "Circus", because the people at the BBC had referred to the six cast members wandering around the BBC offices as a circus, so they added "Flying" to make it sound less like a real circus and more like something out of the first world war. And in front of that, added "Monty Python" because it sounded like a really bad theatrical agent, and also that the large, constricting snake was appropriate imagery.
  • Ringo Starr was a huge fan of the Pythons. He appeared in one sketch, as himself appearing on a chat show hosted by the "It's" man (Michael Palin).
  • The Pythons wrote all of their sketches in teams. Cambridge graduates John Cleese and Graham Chapman wrote together, as did Oxford men Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Eric Idle, another Cambridge alumnus, wrote alone. "Links" between sketches were the only pieces written by the entire group collectively. Animator Terry Gilliam worked independently of the five core members, but joined them for writers' meetings to help them piece it all together and act as a sort of test audience.
  • Following a television interview in which Graham Chapman mentioned (not for the first time) that he was a homosexual, the Pythons received a letter from an enraged woman who said she heard an "anonymous" member of Monty Python had confessed to being gay. She enclosed several pages of prayers for his salvation and said that if he repeated them every single day he might acquire some form of purgatory. Eric Idle replied to her saying that they had found out who it was and had stoned him. Shortly thereafter, John Cleese left the show for the last season. The woman never wrote back.
  • Ranked #5 in [TV Guide]'s list of the {25 Top Cult Shows Ever!} (30 May 2004 issue).
  • At least two sketches can trace their origins back to How to Irritate People, a TV special that John Cleese starred in and wrote with Graham Chapman prior to [Flying Circus]. First, the {Silly Job Interview} in which Cleese rings a bell and has people scoring Chapman's reaction came directly from the special. Also the infamous/famous {Parrot Sketch} was adapted largely from a sketch Chapman wrote for the earlier show about a car salesman who flatly refused to admit that there was anything wrong with the car that was literally falling apart on stage.
  • The Pythons did almost all of their own stunts, including Graham Chapman (a qualified mountaineer) reading a sketch while hanging upside-down on a rope, and Michael Palin plummeting 15 feet into a canal in {The Fish-Slapping Dance} after John Cleese smacks him in the head with a trout.
  • After three seasons of 13 episodes each, John Cleese refused to return for a fourth because he believed the show was becoming repetitious and had run out of ideas. The rest of the cast only managed to produce a final fourth season of just six episodes without him.