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-Morning. How are you? Are you OK?
This programme contains very strong language
I got there expecting to see "The last".
She had "Five to go".
'I think there's nothing more embarrassing
'than a bunch of middle-aged old farts'
trying to recreate the halcyon days of Python humour.
'I think it's probably best remember us
'for all the good work that we did, than clamber up on stage on sort of'
crutches and sort of medical support,
and try and do the sketches all over again.
'Maybe in three years' time,'
the spirit will change
and we'll think "We'll be dead soon, so we'll do something."
I don't know. But not in foreseeable future.
MONTY PYTHON THEME: "The Liberty Bell" by John Philip P Sousa
We can't do both of those.
-Shall we have the music first?
that we would never, ever agree on anything ever again.
Music first, ladies and gentlemen, Monty Python,
-then we'll come on. Shall we try it again?
'It is fun to be together.'
We do have a good time when we finally get together,
but it's just such a nightmare getting everyone together.
'Life's too short in the end.'
So, 15 years ago, they were absolutely adamant
that a reunion was completely out of the question.
But they seem to have changed their minds.
And now for something completely different.
News that comedy fans have been waiting a long time to hear.
Their parrot might still be dead, but Monty Python
is hoping to rise from the dead.
HE SPEAKS NORWEGIAN
Monty Python have revealed their reunion plans.
I am a lumberjack and I'm OK.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Monty Python.
THEY ALL TALK AT ONCE AS THEME PLAYS
Monty Python may well be the most successful comedy group of all time.
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Nudge, nudge, know what I mean? Say no more, know what I mean?
ALL: Bits of brain!
Their surreal and very silly television show
changed comedy for ever.
We find that nine out of ten British housewives
can't tell the difference between Whizzo butter and a dead crab.
-That's very true.
-No, we can't.
Their films are still quoted in pubs
and student common rooms the world over.
Are you the Judean People's Front?
Judean People's Front!
We're the People's Front of Judea.
# We're Knights of the Round Table... #
They've even taken on Broadway and triumphed.
Spamalot mania has spread to 21 countries worldwide.
# ..eat ham and jam and spam a lot! #
So it's small wonder the world is beside itself at news of a reunion.
HE BLOWS WHISTLE
But there's a lot at stake here.
They haven't performed on stage together for over 30 years,
and they now have a combined age of 357.
I'm not entirely sure they can pull this off.
And now, you've announced this is the beginning of the end.
Basically, you're not going to be on stage again, ever, ever, ever.
'Everybody's over 70. Some well over 70.
'The insurance is pretty high.'
In fact, the promoter, Phil McIntyre, said,
"It's so much money to ensure you guys."
I said, "Well, why don't you just insure it so two of us have to die?"
And then, if one of us dies, it's a tribute to them.
So two have to die before we get our money back.
MONTY PYTHON THEME PLAYS ON ACCORDION
And on BBC One now, Ethel the frog.
Full speed ahead, Mr Cohen!
And now for something completely different.
The comedy troupe Monty Python have been announcing
more dates for their reunion show in London.
That's after 20,000 tickets sold out in under a minute.
# It's fun to charter an accountant and sail the wide accountancy... #
I couldn't believe it.
The phone rang, "Well, it's sold out in 45 seconds,
"so we put five more on and they sold out in an hour."
Then they asked us to do five more, you know,
so people said, "Yeah, OK."
So then we got offers from all round the world. And Michael said no
because he was busy, he's doing a book tour.
No, er...it's quite nice,
having Michael say no meant that we only have ten nights.
Welcome, one, welcome all. It's New Year's Eve!
-Oh, isn't it exciting?
And then he's going to talk about, how, you know,
it's exciting that you are back together,
and, you know, you haven't performed together for over 30 years.
The Monty Python team are here! Yes!
This is where you're going to come on from.
If you just head straight towards Graham.
Graham will meet and greet you, basically shake hands.
They're about to perform together for the first time in over 30 years.
Ladies and gentlemen, go NYE crazy for Monty Python!
Michael Palin is here! Hello! Hugging!
Eric Idle is here! Hello.
It's such fun being with everybody. There's so many good laughs,
you know, even when we're just doing business
or legal fees, we laugh a lot.
Mr John Cleese is here! Hello, sir.
The funny thing is, once we started to get together and work together,
I suddenly remembered,
"Oh, yes, we could never agree on anything, can we?"
-It's over 30 years, it's 31 years or something since...
Since you performed... Since you performed in a live show together.
Yes, that was the Hollywood Bowl, absolutely.
-And 40 years since we did it in England.
-It was 33 years.
-All right, all right!
-Oh, my God!
-OK, can I just say, you mustn't fall out before 1st July.
Hang on in there.
Walking down there was just like seeing the Beatles coming in.
It's amazing, seeing you all.
-Is there any chance I could get a picture with you?
-Yeah, of course.
-Show the Python pants, please!
But not everyone is as convinced as Robbie Williams
that this is a good idea.
In fact, some people are just looking to start an argument.
-Is this the right room for an argument?
-I've told you once.
-No, you haven't.
-Yes, I have.
-No, you didn't.
-Yes, I did.
-I'm telling you I did.
-You most certainly did not.
-Is this a five-minute argument
or the full half hour?
Let me read you a commentary by the Daily Mail.
About the appearance of Python, the anticipation.
"From the bristling security beefcake, you would have thought
"it was a Madonna concert or the visit of a top-ranked politician.
"And like the vainest prima donnas, they arrived 20 minutes late.
-"Eventually..." This is even ruder, are you ready for this?
-Yes, go on.
"Eventually, five slightly shrivelled septuagenarians..."
-"..stepped from the wings
"to announce to much fawning from camp followers..."
That's right. Because it's the Mail, so it couldn't be genuine applause.
No, it would have to be fawning.
"..These ancients looked anything but sprightly.
"And they intend to cash in on baby boomer nostalgia
-"by churning out some of their old hits."
What interests me is that the Daily Mail,
which sees itself as the heart of middle-class Britain,
people in Britain are very proud of their sense of humour.
The Daily Mail has no sense of humour at all.
And it's not as though we're child molesters, you know what I mean,
or war criminals? We made some people laugh.
Not everybody likes Python,
there's lots of people who don't like it but quite a lot do.
-Thank you, good morning.
That's it. Good morning.
-I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to argue any more.
So where have they been for the last 30 years?
A life after Python has been... well, complicated.
John Cleese, of course, made Fawlty Towers and A Fish Called Wanda.
But in the last few years, he's been preoccupied.
Fundraising with his one-man show, The Alimony Tour.
I was just doing it, you stupid woman.
I just put it down to come here
to be reminded by you to do what I'm already doing.
What is the point of reminding me to do what I'm already doing?
What is the bloody point? I'm doing it, aren't I?!
As you might have guessed, he's got an expensive divorce to pay off.
He is currently in Singapore, where we'll join him later.
And what of the other Pythons?
Michael Palin, you must remember him from those travel programmes.
Well, he's not doing those at the moment.
There's some commentary coming in a minute.
Ah, here it is.
He's also got a tour coming up.
And a third volume of diaries to publicise.
But where is he now?
According to my sources,
he's somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales, filming a ghost story.
-Play around with it.
All right, what about Terry Gilliam?
The oldest enfant terrible in show business.
He's been busy making this.
Another dystopian sci-fi.
But a man who feels happiest when surrounded by chaos
and disaster is never going to be content spinning just one plate.
Where's the fun in that?
So he's decided to tackle one of the most difficult,
rarely performed operas ever written.
He's currently somewhere near the Olympic Park
and can be heard tearing his hair out in rehearsals.
Terry Jones. What of him?
The last I saw of Terry,
he was looking very much the twinkly-eyed history professor,
slagging off the Renaissance and claiming Richard III was a genius.
It was quite astonishing.
Now he's dusted off his megaphone
and is back in the director's chair for the first time in 18 years,
making a comedy with Simon Pegg and Kate Beckinsale.
Everybody applauding! Oh, yes!
But in just a few months,
these "shrivelled septuagenerians" will be here. The O2 Arena.
Over ten nights, they'll perform to a total of 150,000 people.
Equivalent to the entire population of Slough.
It's the biggest show of their lives. But nobody seems to care.
And who's in charge?
Ah! That would be Eric Idle.
And where's Eric?
Eric's at home, in Hollywood.
Looking for a dear old friend he keeps locked away in a wooden box.
We are going down into the Valley... of the shadow of debt.
To look for the albatross, which is the prop that was originally used
on Monty Python in 1969 and also, I think it came on tour with us.
It's an albatross on an usherette's tray.
-Two choc-ices, please.
-I haven't got choc-ices.
I only got the albatross.
I borrowed it in 2000, it was sent out here to California,
for me to go on tour with a show called
Eric Idle Exploits Monty Python.
Which we went on tour with.
And when I got it back, it had become an endangered species.
And we were not allowed to send it or ship it back to England.
So it has remained here in the lock-up. I hope it's in the lock-up.
And we're going to see if we can get it out,
and then smuggle it back into the UK
and we don't get arrested for breaking the Endangered Species Act.
But it is dead.
Er, what flavour is it?
Well, it's an albatross, isn't it?
It's not any bloody flavour. Albatross!
There's got to be some flavour. Everything's got a flavour.
All right, all right, it's bloody albatross flavour.
It's bleeding sea bird, bleeding flavour. Albatross!
Personnel on this expedition is my son Carey, who's in from Australia.
And Alana, my assistant, my long-suffering assistant is here.
Is that the only light?
-Oh, look at that. How about that?
This was our first encounter with George Harrison.
Me, George, Olivia, Terry Gilliam in Hollywood.
So, in here, there's all sorts of shite.
Look, there's even a dead parrot cage.
Silver disc? What is it?
There you are.
Life of Brian.
Ran for six months in the West End, that did.
Was closed by the Falklands war.
I don't think there's anything you can say to that.
I don't even know what it comes from.
-Well done, Alana.
HE HUMS "RIDE OF THE VALKYRIES"
There it is! The albatross.
My gosh. A bit ratty.
I think the albatross is going to need a hairstyling. Albatross!
Look, it's on a tray, it's on its original tray too, see?
Do you get wafers with it?
Course you don't get fucking wafers with it, you cunt!
-It's a fucking albatross...
-Stop that. Stop that.
Bring out your dead!
Bring out your dead birds!
The original Python team resisted a reunion for years.
And when Graham Chapman died in 1989,
it looked as though it would never happen.
Now, they're spread all over the world,
all doing something completely different.
Trying to organise a Python reunion
is a bit like trying to get an octopus into a string bag.
And since Eric is the man supposedly in charge,
I wondered if he could shed some light on why they're doing it.
-Did it come out of the blue, this reunion thing?
-Well, we had just...
We'd been involved with this idiot
who was one of the producers on Holy Grail.
And he spent seven years suing us.
So what it meant was, it cost us a million quid to defend ourselves.
So we were a million quid down,
and people are getting old and ancient and decrepit.
So we had to have a business meeting in August,
and I was thinking to myself, we need some advice,
to tell us where we are.
-And I remembered my old friend Jim Beach...
-The manager of Queen.
The manager of Queen, but we were at Cambridge together.
And he used to play the piano when I did cabaret with Graeme Garden.
But I've always known him and loved him.
Anyway, so I thought, "I'll ask him."
And he, bless him, flew in from Switzerland
and came to the meeting where we discussed all this loss.
And, you know, I saw him for a drink the night before and I said,
"If we did a night at the O2, we'd pay this off in a second."
And so, in the meeting, Jim is listening to us
and he says, "This is such a mess.
"But you know," he said, "if you just did a night at the O2,
"you could pay back all that money."
And I laughed and I said, "Oh, that's a good idea!"
And everybody liked it and they all said yes immediately.
You know, suddenly we had a show.
# I've got £90,000 in my pyjamas
# I've got 40,000 French francs in my fridge... #
The last time they performed was live at the Hollywood Bowl.
They had a black backdrop, a few costume changes, and hardly any set.
The O2 Arena is more than twice that size. A different beast entirely.
# ..I'd rather have the lolly
# With money you can make a splash
# There is nothing quite as wonderful as money... #
I really thought, well, the only way we can fill O2
if we have singing and dancing. So we've got to have a band.
It's become sort of a musical with Python in the middle,
which is kind of what I like.
I think that will... It sets it and it won't be just, like,
five 70-year-olds trying to do a sketch show.
It will have a lot of energy of its own
because of all these lovely young dancers and the songs and the music.
So, back in London,
while auditions are under way to find the chorus line,
across town, the Pythons get together
for their very first read-through.
Who would've thought, 40 years ago,
-we'd all be sitting here doing Monty Python.
Them days, we were glad to have the price of a cup of tea.
-Cup of cold tea.
-Without milk or sugar.
For the first time in more than 20 years,
Michael Palin is not making a travel show.
He's heading the cast of a BBC drama.
Remember Me is a supernatural thriller
that's about as far from the silly antics of Python as you can imagine.
What is it? A vulnerable adult.
I'm told it's chilling, and that's not just the script.
Nothing comical about these. You really need them today.
It's all right, I don't have any nude scenes or anything like that.
Palin plays Tom Parfitt,
a frail old Yorkshireman,
seemingly alone in the world, whose admittance to a nursing home
triggers a series of inexplicable events.
I've got no family living.
Oh! You've packed your bag, I see?
Well, you've got to keep a bag packed.
You never know when you might need it.
It certainly is nice to get something that is not adapted,
completely fresh and new.
And rather... You know, a ghost story in three parts,
they don't really do that much nowadays.
I fell down the stairs.
I'm a, what is it? A vulnerable adult.
I was going to ask you about how the read-through went.
'The Python read-through? It went very well.
'I loved going back and doing the material again.
'It's like the years rolled by.
'We kind of know the rhythm of'
all those sketches, "Argument" and things like that.
-I'm sorry, the five minutes is up.
-That was never five minutes just now.
I'm afraid it was.
'It's like an old thing you've made years ago,'
you know how to work it.
It was like that.
That was never five minutes just now.
I told you, if you want me to go on arguing,
-you'll have to pay for another five minutes.
-I just paid.
-I don't want to argue about that!
-I'm very sorry, but you didn't pay.
-If I didn't pay, why are you arguing?
When we all get together, which is fairly rare, things crackle along.
We had a very good time in November
when the show was announced and all that.
And we met up a lot, and once we're talking about performing,
and...you know, acting and working together to make people laugh,
that seems to be fine. We're good at that.
And do these lions, by any chance, eat ants?
Yes, that's right, that's right.
THEY ALL LAUGH
'Someone's got to take a lead. You can't produce a show by e-mail.
Eric's been dealing with a big hit, you know,
some big theatrical hit.
'So he's good at that.
'He's got an appetite for it,
'it seems to be what he really wants to do.'
ALL: # Immanuel Kant was a real pissant
# Who was very rarely stable
# Heidegger, Heidegger was a boozy beggar
# Who could think you under the table
# David Hume could outconsume Schopenhauer and Hegel
# And Wittgenstein was a beery swine
# Who was just as schloshed as Schlegel. #
You're not confused and learning your Python lines, are you?
You probably haven't forgotten any of them.
Well, it's very good practice for the Yorkshire accent.
"Luxury," all the Python stuff we do. So bone up on that.
There were 150 of us living in a shoe box in the middle of the road.
-You were lucky.
We lived for three months in a rolled-up newspaper in a septic tank.
I think I probably have forgotten the Python lines.
I think I know them. We all think we know them.
But we'll probably need prompting from the audience,
which is why we're doing it in such a large venue.
We used to have to get up every morning at six o'clock
and clean the newspaper, go to work down the mill, 14 hours a day,
week in week out, for sixpence a week.
And we got home, our dad with thrash us to sleep with his belt.
Go Terry, and mark it, please.
670, take one.
'Getting into the mindset of something you're doing after this is'
almost impossible, because this is totally...
Especially with this character, it takes you over, really.
When this is finished, I can go back to being Michael Palin,
which is a bit of a bore, really.
You move into a place, you think, "It'll do me till Christmas."
You don't expect to be stuck there the rest of your life.
How long have you lived in that house, Tom?
Oh, I forget now.
Cut that, please. Thank you.
Acting under pressure!
We did lots of Python filming up in Yorkshire.
Those rocks up there remind me of the Cow and Calf rocks near Ilkley,
where we did the hermit sketch which I loved.
-Hello! Are you a hermit by any chance?
-Yes, that's right.
-Are you a hermit?
-Yes, I certainly am!
-Well, I never!
-What are you getting away from?
-Oh, you know, the usual.
-People, chat, gossip, you know.
-Oh, I certainly do.
It was the same with me.
I mean, there comes a time when you realise there's no good
frittering your life away in idleness and trivial chitchat.
-Where's your cave?
-Oh, up the goat track, first on the left.
All of these strange outfits on top of the rock.
"Yes, I'm a hermit!"
While everybody else is busy, back in LA,
the show is magically coming together by itself. Isn't it, Eric?
'I'm fucking scared shitless.'
But I am because I'm the only one who knows what we're trying to do.
So, it's like, the others are blithely unaware.
I got an e-mail from Gilliam saying he can't do the rehearsals
because he's got to go to Paris to open his film.
You go, "Um... you know the rehearsal thing?"
-'Can you hear us all right?'
-I can hear you all right.
Sorry, Eric, you go first.
Everybody should really have a look at the fifth draft.
I've already tried on the Agent Provocateur underwear
just to make sure it's safe for comedy.
Thank you. LAUGHTER
-'Now, the naked organist is cut.'
Who's going to make sure that that happens?
Excellent. Wait, wait. What's...? Stop, stop.
'You will not get the Pythons to wear them.'
'Need - yes. Get - no.'
No matter how many times you say it, it doesn't...
Understood. Yeah, OK.
I don't think that's a good idea.
I'm sorry, I still didn't get who's going to make sure that happens?
Suitably humiliated. Perfect.
Because I'm also losing Terry Gilliam.
'He's just announced he's opening his fucking film in Paris.
'So he can't come to rehearsals.'
So we could maybe get Martin Scorsese.
All right, I'll give him a ring.
Thanks, everybody. Bye-bye.
I mean, the two that I'm looking forward to most are...
And we've never done the sketches live before, John as Anne Elk,
which I really love. "I have a theory, and what it is, too."
-Your new theory.
-Oh! What is my theory?
-Oh, what is my theory that it is?
Well, Chris, you may well ask me what is my theory.
And Terry's never done this, which is the Spam cafe before,
and so we are recreating Spam cafe
because now we have 20 people who can be Vikings singing...
# Spam, Spam, Spam! Lovely spam! #
So we'll do all of that live.
I don't like Spam!
VIKINGS SING: # Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam
# Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam Spammity-spam!
# Wonderful Spam! #
Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!
-And he's squeezing the chicken...
Eric has assembled a crack team
to look after the song-and-dance numbers.
Long-time musical collaborator John Du Prez
is a relative spring chicken at 68.
It could either build up like that, you know. That would be nice.
Cos you have this sort of like... It goes...
# Ba ba ba Ba ba ba...
# Ba ba ba Ba ba ba... #
You know, you sort of build it.
# Ba ba ba, ba ba ba Brrrump ba da... #
You know, coming from that.
# Da da da, da da da Da da da, da da da
# Sit on my face! #
So you have... Oh, yes, I can do all of that.
And marshalling the dancers is the high-kicking
and renowned choreographer Arlene Phillips.
A big circle around in between the tables, up and over the tables.
Arlene Phillips is so great, she's the spirit of it all.
She was the choreographer for The Meaning Of Life,
so she's really cool to come back into it.
# Every sperm is good
# Every sperm is needed in your neighbourhood. #
I'll wrap around and then I'll drop from here, drop back.
# Sit on my face. #
Our opening routine, which is about penises, vaginas, bottoms,
I decided to look at the signing for all the words that you
could use to describe them and try to put them into choreography.
You can notice them if you're aware of sign language, otherwise you'd
just think we're making beautiful arm movements and lovely gestures.
# But don't take it out in public Or they'll stick you in the dock
# And you won't come back. #
# I like Chinese... #
6,000 miles away in Singapore, John is about to
perform his one-man show for the 200th time.
Oh, and he's writing an autobiography.
In long hand.
I'm not kidding you that I have spent eight months out of the last
ten months of my life in hotel rooms, so it's really apt that
we should be talking here in a hotel room, but this is often my reward.
# ..I like Chinese
# I like Chinese... #
I've seen very little work of any of the other Pythons,
and it's exactly the same the other way round.
It's funny, we don't pay a great deal of attention to each other's work,
by and large, it's quite true, you know?
Everyone's gone off in completely different directions,
but the nice thing is when we get back together we laugh a lot.
'Thinking about them a bit for the purpose of the autobiography,
'I was beginning to realise I don't understand any of them at all.
'I used to think I understood'
Palin, but I don't.
And I've never, never been able to understand either of the two Terrys,
what's going on in their mind.
I think I sort of vaguely know what...what Eric likes,
because Eric very much enjoys, he loves show business,
and I can understand that.
A bit on my nose and a bit there on my enormous chin.
There! Made up for another show.
# Let me whisper in your ear
# Say the words you long to hear... #
Ten minutes, John.
-See you soon.
-...your mobile phones are turned off,
or at the very least turned to silent mode.
The taking of pictures with your camera,
or phone or iPad or even using a fax machine is strictly prohibited.
So, please welcome to the stage a man who needs no introduction -
here is John Cleese.
MONTY PYTHON THEME: "The Liberty Bell" by JP Sousa
'Well, the main reason that I have to do this,
'of course, is to pay the alimony. I think people know that.'
But I'm reaching the point now where I will nearly have paid it off.
I have so far paid my latest ex-wife 22 million.
Yes, 22, and I have another million to go.
But I have to tell you, my Californian lawyer tells me
that I got off lightly.
Oh, yes, he said, "Think how much more you would have had to pay her
"had she contributed anything to the relationship."
JAUNTY MUSIC PLAYS
I sometimes think that in years to come a certain poor student
of media studies will be required to write an essay on what that means.
Oh, sketches that I'm excited about doing?
I shall probably enjoy doing them, but I don't get excited
about doing stuff, particularly if it's 130 years old, you know?
The one thing I'm glad I don't have to do is the silly walks sketch,
which I never thought was as funny as everyone else did,
and I pointed out to Terry Jones, I think it was his idea,
that the only reason it became so iconic
was the brilliance of my performance, you know?
Because I never thought it was a very good sketch,
it was just a funny idea.
Good morning. I'm sorry to have kept you waiting,
but I'm afraid my walk has become rather silly recently, so
it takes me longer to get to the office.
When I did that on stage, there was
so much laughter just cos I was throwing my legs around,
which I could do before I'd had them all replaced by surgery,
when I was throwing them around there would be
so much noise I would be saying to Michael Palin onstage,
"I know you wrote this, but it's not a very good bit of material.
"They're only laughing at the movements I'm making."
Last year the government spent less on silly walks
than it did on industrial reorganisation.
We were supposed to get £348 million a year
to cover our entire silly walks programme.
Under two, back at three...
In the absence of Cleese's legs,
Arlene is going to put the silly walks to music.
Round... Do you know what I mean?
Whatever we're doing, we are being John Cleese,
so we are not being...
You know, it's all the time keeping that focus, keeping his body,
keeping the way he moves in our minds.
When we do that, as opposed to leaning back,
everything is just down.
There, down there, and then you push off.
MONTY PYTHON THEME: "The Liberty Bell" by JP Sousa
Before I wrote the script, I went to everybody and asked them
what they would particularly like to do, and some were interesting.
Cos John asked for a very weird one called Gumby brain surgeon.
And he is doing that.
'And it's hilarious, you know?
'It's only an obscure TV sketch.'
We need a big door, and it's not be anchored securely,
cos you knock on it, and then
he's going to enter backwards, smashing through it,
so this is quite tricky,
because you don't want the whole thing to fall over,
'and on the same truck is a prop desk
'which he smashes'
and will fall to bits.
Are you...the brain specialist?
No, I am not the brain specialist.
No. No, I am not.
Yes! Yes, I am.
We have these sets.
When they originally came up with it,
they gave us this - a rather ugly modern box, you know what I mean?
And so I said, "No, no, no. you've got to make it Gilliam."
And so he came back with this. And now we know where we are.
You know, in the Python silly Gilliam world it's much
nicer for these nice warm curtains
and drapes that move open
to reveal the Gilliam world of animation.
JAUNTY BRASS BAND MUSIC
Terry Gilliam, the Pythons' animator, has gone on to
forge a hugely successful career as a film director.
His singular visual style can be seen in Time Bandits,
12 Monkeys, and perhaps his masterpiece, Brazil.
Earlier this year, he released The Zero Theorem.
Made in a matter of weeks on a modest budget,
Terry was characteristically candid about it at a private screening.
It is what it is.
There are moments of humour, there are moments of sadness.
There are moments of tedium. They are all in a film...
LAUGHTER ..a complete motion picture.
All right, Quin? How's it hanging?
It's Qohen, Mr Joby, and as we've told you before,
it isn't hanging at all well.
I mean, always when you do the first cut of a movie,
it's a great disappointment, that's standard.
This was something deeper.
Something more utterly tragic. It just...
And I said, "Burn it! Just burn this thing.
"It doesn't work. It's a mess. I blew it."
Despite Terry's early neuroses, he recut it,
and salvaged a film which was favourably received.
And now he's applying his unique talents to opera.
Benvenuto Cellini by the French composer Berlioz
is a notoriously difficult and rarely performed piece -
perfect for a man who loves a challenge.
Singing to all his guys,
Hail! All of us together! Yeah, brothers in arms.
Is there actually lots of humour in Berlioz?
Humour? There is now!
I think in this one he was trying to be funny.
There's certain scenes that are very comic opera like.
He just...goes on too long.
# Once again... # Yeah, yeah.
The foot goes back as if to kick. HE CHUCKLES
-# Once again... #
-Cos he's right there.
-# Once again... #
Do you have a sort of fellow feeling with Cellini
and Berlioz as well, for that matter?
I've never even bothered to read a biography of Berlioz.
I'm not interested. The music tells me the creative process.
It's what he's writing about.
The torture, the beauty of it, the horrible experience,
which I think I can identify with.
And that's exactly Cellini's story.
The only Renaissance artist to write an autobiography.
It's wonderful, it's so outrageous, cos he's a liar, a bullshitter,
and yet he created these most extraordinarily beautiful things.
And I find that very interesting.
And I would like to create things as beautiful as they do.
I end up just making jokes about things
to cover up the fact I've failed.
Terry is being self-deprecating here.
His previous attempt at directing opera, The Damnation Of Faust,
was a rip-roaring success.
We did something. And it is "we". It's a big "we" that pulled it off.
And that kind of made me want to come back, drag some more people into it,
because when it's good, opera is pretty amazing.
TENOR SINGS PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT
His co-director, then as now, was Leah Hausman.
I listened to this opera, and I really thought, "Why? Why?
"Why does he want to do this? Why would you do this opera?
"It's absolutely convoluted and difficult
"and doesn't make sense, and the plot goes all over the place.
"Why do I care about this guy Cellini?"
And it's the first thing I said to Terry, and he went,
"Yeah, it's kind of a problem."
He then went, "Why did I choose this opera?"
FINAL PIANO CHORDS
Drunk falls off his table, his chair.
Boom! HE CHUCKLES
MALE TENOR SINGS PIANO ACCOMPANIMENT
So, here we are, and you're two months away
from the big day at the O2.
So I'm wondering how much that's on your mind,
how much you're thinking of your compatriots?
Very little, is what I've thought.
I mean, I've had to do things like
I found myself back designing the poster for it.
Oh! We're rereleasing albums.
Oh! A new box...? We need a cover for that.
So I've been doing my old job, basically.
And I'm trying not to think about the rest of it,
because I've just got much less to do than they do.
In fact, I'm almost at times embarrassed,
cos Eric has added more parts trying to keep me in the midst of it.
And I don't really care. I just go there.
I don't want to have to spend a lot of time thinking about it.
It'll be great, 17,000 people on their feet cheering,
that's very good for the ego, and then after a few nights of that
I can go home and get through the rest of my life.
# I've got two legs From my hips to the ground
# And when I lift them They walk around
# And when I lift them They climb the stairs
# And when I shave 'em They ain't got hairs. #
GUNSHOT HE SCREAMS
Are you looking forward to being on that stage?
I don't know. I've got a problem, because...
because we're one short at the moment,
I've got to do things like Gumby flower arranging,
which Michael does - brilliantly -
and to step into Mike's shoes
scares the shit out of me, quite frankly.
First, take a bunch of flowers.
Pretty begonias, irises, freesias,
in a vase.
Oh! Get in! Get in! Get in!
Mike is a genius, and we all keep saying,
"Stop this travelling business, come back to comedy."
He is, to me the funniest of all of us.
JAUNTY PIANO MUSIC
HE HITS SOME BUM NOTES
We need a prop plank which is... Can be hit. People can be hit.
Looks very heavy but actually is just, I think it's balsa wood.
A lot of pies. And I think the best way
-to make pies is shaving cream.
They need to be brought on in paper plates so that when you
pie someone, the plate falls off but it doesn't smash their noses.
-Where's the fun in that?
And now the foul pie.
And he just goes like that to her, so she gets the pie,
that's the physical tag. Blackout.
# Da da da da da da da. # Curtains in.
-# Da dee dee da da da. # Clearly the intermission.
There will now be a medium-sized intermission.
That made for a starter,
but not perhaps something a little more savoury.
# So always look on The bright side of death
# Just before you Draw your terminal breath
Busy as ever, Eric is now back in LA re-versioning
that most classic of Python singalongs.
# When you're in the World Cup And all your hopes are up. #
VOCAL WARM-UP EXERCISES
Been a long time since the ENO, you know?
-You know Terry is in the midst?
-I know, for his second ENO.
Yeah. Have you heard from him about how it's going?
He always says it's a disaster.
I said, you know... He said, "It's chaos." I said, "You like chaos.
"If it's not there, you create it." Which is true.
# Life's a piece of shit When you look at it
# Life's a laugh And death's a joke, it's true
# You'll see it's all a show
# Keep 'em laughing as you go
# Just remember that The last laugh is on you, and...
# Always look on The bright side of life. #
OK, thanks, Michael.
-DJ ON RADIO:
-'Lies you tell your kids, [email protected],
'we're talking Python with Michael Palin in just a moment.
In London, Michael has kindly made room in his busy schedule to plug
the Python show on Simon Mayo.
..to do something in July. So, if we can give them other things...
Back in Los Angeles, Eric can't resist listening in,
hoping to hear some recognition for his contribution.
'And do you find it quite exciting?
'Well, I'm glad that we've decided to lay this one to rest,'
are we going to get together again or no, sorry, we'll leave it ten years.
Suddenly it all happened this time and everyone said yes
and there we are, and it's quite terrifying really.
-I'm glad he's terrified!
-'But I think it'll be fun.
-'I think it'll be great.'
-Yes, it will.
Who was the one, if you are all deciding what to do,
who was the one who would say, "No, I can't do it"?
-Who was the one who was always saying no?
-'Seeing as you asked.'
But because I have got this volume of diaries coming out,
I don't want to plug that
'but there was 10 years, it's 88-98
'and that last bit is actually about Python'
at Aspen Festival in Colorado.
We went along...
I think Eric is a little put out
because there has been no mention yet of all his hard work.
Michael Palin is here because he has got something to say and this is it.
The very last night of the Pythons,
the last Python show ever is going
to take place on 20 July 2014.
-I think I know who's doing all the work...
-He doesn't get mentioned.
Have you thought about rehearsals or not?
Yes, I have thought about it and rejected the idea.
'We're just going to turn up.'
Eric particularly is putting together a production
so there will be lots of dancing, songs, because basically
all of us are playing about ten different roles or more in the show.
That means you've got to go off and change...
What are you are looking forward to the most afterwards
-apart from a long holiday?
-Oh, I shall be in sad decline.
I shall just sit there and play
'the old sketches and cry a bit.
'No, I've got a volume of diaries coming out as I said,
'1988-98 called Travelling to Work.
-'So I shall be...'
-Instead of Australia!
-There'll be Life after Python, I hope.
Michael Palin, a pleasure as ever. Thank you very much indeed.
He hasn't even got to 2000 yet!
That was very good, Michael. You did very well.
I kind of think of you as a sort of head boy
because you are the head boy of this venture, that's for sure.
Yes, but in Python there is always somebody who has to take
responsibility. That's how we do it.
If you're doing an album,
somebody takes the responsibility of producing it.
If you're doing a movie, somebody is going to direct it
and look after all of the boring shit that makes it possible
for us to be good when we do it.
# We're Knights of the Round Table
# We dance when'er we're able
# We do routines and chorus scenes
# With footwork impeccable
# We dine well here in Camelot... #
So, for this production, Eric is in charge
but it hasn't always been that way.
For their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, directing duties
were shared between the two Terries, Gilliam and Jones.
I don't know, it's a dogsbody job, directing. I think it's...
You've really just got to organise things and work out what
you're doing in the morning and it's a very thankless task.
We're learning as we do it, it's nice.
Been given a whole feature film to learn how to make films.
-But you are treating it with proper respect?
There has never been any mutual respect within the Python group
at all, as you probably know.
But we're withholding a lot of the criticism that we would
normally be making.
# Push the pram a lot... #
On Life of Brian, Gilliam switched to the art department,
leaving Terry Jones in sole charge of directing.
Which meant he could save the funniest line for himself.
Now you listen here.
He's not the Messiah, he's a very naughty boy.
Now go away!
The last film Terry Jones made was The Wind in the Willows,
but that was in 1996.
Hello, Toad. This is Mole.
Just going to send for you. Both of you.
-My young friend has just lost his home.
-Has he? What a stroke of luck!
And now, 18 years later, he is back in the saddle,
making a sci-fi comedy with Kate Beckinsale and Simon Pegg.
Stop filming me! No, I'm kidding.
So, why the long wait?
You know, I kind of gave up on making feature films
when Wind in the Willows was...
-..was so badly distributed.
-What happened exactly?
My producer rang up and said, "It's on in New York..."
-In Times Square?
-In Times Square.
So I went around and it was on in a little porno cinema
which had Wind in the Willows on it!
And I went off to get a camera
because I didn't have a camera on me at the time. And...
..I came back and it was off.
-Within the time that you went...?
And it was, according to the San Francisco Chronicle,
it was the second best reviewed film of the year.
And it just tears me apart.
The waste of it, you know?
-We're on camera.
And the scene today is for the beginning of the film,
-is that right?
-Yes. It's a dream sequence.
Neil dreams that he's got a successful book that's won
the Man Booker Prize and he dreams about his love, Kate Beckinsale.
Now with the publication of this brilliant novel,
reviewers agree he has entered the ranks of Britain's immortals.
Ladies and gentlemen, Neil Clarke.
And Dennis the dog barks in the film
and an avalanche of dogs
come in down the staircase there and the dogs take over the dream, really.
I devoted five long years to capturing it in a book,
which I hoped would throw open
-the doors of human perception...
..um, and allow us to be engulfed in a sense of our own futility.
That's very good. Great.
You've got the O2 shows coming up, 150,000 people coming to see you.
How are you preparing yourself, Terry?
Staying up late, drinking a lot.
Who is doing all the work?
Well, Eric's doing the work. He is directing the show.
And I'm glad he is.
The dancers, I may say, are wearing Agent Provocateur underwear, so...
This is Neil submerged in a sea of dogs.
I just assume I'm going to get tickets
cos I'm working with Terry. At some point down the line,
when we're sat by the camera, I'm going to try and blag some off him.
But I've said, "How is it all going?"
And he just sort of goes, "Oh,
"yeah, yeah..." I don't think... It feels to me like nobody knows.
I don't know if they have spoken to each other recently
or that there's any plans.
They've just decided they're going to do it
and it'll probably happen on the night.
I wouldn't be surprised if Graham materialised.
THEY ISSUE INSTRUCTIONS TO DOGS
That's great. That's great.
Are there any sketches which you're looking forward to or want to
be in the compilation? Any favourites that you have?
-I'd like to hear Terry do the Crunchy Frog.
-What sort of frog?
A dead frog.
That chocolate box list of ingredients is fantastic.
What, a raw frog?
We use only the finest baby frogs, dew-picked and flown from Iraq,
cleansed in the finest quality spring water,
lightly killed and then sealed in a succulent Swiss, quintuple smooth,
treble cream, milk chocolate envelope and lovingly frosted with glucose.
-That's as may be, it's still a frog.
-Oh, what else?
TERRY AND SIMON LAUGH That's great. Yeah.
-Brilliant. OK, great.
Thank God for that!
Camp it up!
-Ooh, get her...
LAUGHTER DROWNS OUT CHANTS
..I'll scratch your eyes out
Don't come the brigadier bit with us, dear
We all know where you've been, you military fairy!
Whoops! Don't look now, girls...
So the spirit of the girls is the same as the boys,
we love this, this is our favourite drill, the penis drill.
Ooh, sounds painful.
Across town from Terry's movie set,
Arlene is busy putting the dancers through their paces.
If you just do that, it doesn't look like anything,
you've got to really push to see that the fans are fluttering.
What are you planning to do when you get there to this?
-It will just be... I'll just be charming them.
I shall press the charming switch and I shall come out
and be absolutely charming.
John Cleese has come home, as you can see.
And we're on our way to promote his book.
However, he has insisted, charmingly,
that we divert and go home first to visit his cats.
-Right, come on!
Where is the other two?
-This is the biggest one.
-Wow, he is a big boy.
-Is it a boy or a girl?
-And what is his name, this one?
I call him Flix.
-He's so amazing... He's got the other one.
-This is the small one.
-Isn't he wonderful?
-His face is just like a tabby.
-He's like a lynx.
-And they are absolute brothers,
born at exactly the same time and we were only going to buy this one,
weren't we? And then they said there was a brother.
And it was so ridiculous, we just said, "OK."
-Heaven's got the blue eyes.
-Oh, my God, we've got three.
-And this one is called Heaven?
He is unbelievably beautiful, isn't he?
I'm an anachronism, but I'm perfectly happy with that
because I don't particularly like the era that we live in
at the moment, it doesn't seem to be a terribly intelligent
or terribly creative one so I'm only slowly stumbling
in the direction of most technology.
-I use e-mail, I think that's very useful.
-He's good on Twitter.
-He's got three million followers.
-So why Twitter?
Because I understand Twitter, which is that some people wish to
receive occasional silly messages.
And I do that because, as Stephen Fry pointed out,
if you've got lots of people following you on Twitter,
you don't have to do interviews with treacherous British newspapers.
Three million followers, I'm quite impressed.
How long have you been doing it for?
I've been twittering for about two years.
-What about twerking?
-Twerking is different.
-What Prince Harry does.
-Yes, twerking is different.
-Twerking is doing my dance, J, when I do my dance.
-Mr Cleese, welcome.
-How are you?
-Very well indeed, sir!
In the publishing world, John Cleese's autobiography is
the hottest non-fiction title of the year.
Of course, it is a work in progress.
Are you enjoying writing?
Yes, and I found a way into writing
because once you get into it, it is almost difficult to stop.
Because you get so involved with it, it is like a crossword
that you can't figure out, you just don't want to let it go.
I'm really interested that you appear to be writing
your autobiography in long hand.
Yes, I know, it's the most natural thing in the world for me
and I write...
..about 300 words a page.
-Nothing crossed out, I notice.
And I will do quite a lot of this,
I'll sometimes rewrite a sentence three or four times.
-How is your memory?
-Better than I thought.
You suddenly remember, "Oh, yes," and that was part of another memory.
And it gives you kind of an overview of your life. You know,
you tend to look at your life in little chunks.
And you begin to piece the whole thing together again.
And to kind of recover it.
I remember filming in particular
I always found strangely dissatisfying.
I could do a good day's work in front of the camera, but when I went
home afterwards I didn't feel I had done anything of substance.
Whereas if I sat down with a few sheets of paper and wrote
a three-minute sketch, at the end of the day I had created something
and that seemed to be satisfactory in a way that acting wasn't.
What's on the television then?
Looks like a penguin.
No, no, no, I didn't mean what's on the television set?
-I meant what programme!
John Cleese's writing partner was the late Graham Chapman.
Together, they created some of Python's
most memorable comic moments.
Funny that penguin being there, innit?
You must miss Graham? I'm sure you miss Graham?
Yes, I miss Graham. Yes. Yes.
We used to really laugh at the same things and we had in some ways
very similar minds and in others, completely different.
I wish to make a complaint.
-Sorry, we are closing for lunch.
-Never mind that, my lad.
I wish to complain about this parrot what
I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
Oh, yes? The Norwegian blue. What's wrong with it?
I'll tell you what's wrong with it.
It's dead, that is what's wrong with it.
-The Parrot Sketch, that was the two of you, wasn't it?
-Yes. We did.
Thanks to Monsieur Roget.
-So, how did that happen?
-I discovered this book...
I mean, I was at Cambridge and I discovered it
and it still gives me more fun than any other book I have ever read!
-It is pining!
-It is not pining, it has passed on!
This parrot is no more.
It has ceased to be!
It's expired and gone to meet its maker.
This is a late parrot.
Graham and I would spend a lot of time choosing the words,
sometimes and then we would hear how popular the show was in Japan.
And we thought,
"What are we bothering for?"
I am not prepared to pursue my line of inquiry any further,
as I think this is getting too silly.
Silly, silly, silly! Right.
Get on with it!
Get on with it!
Graham Chapman, co-author
of the Parrot Sketch, is no more.
He has ceased to be.
Bereft of life, he rests in peace.
Cleese and Graham together were the best comedy writers of their era.
You know, their sketches would just sparkle. It was just solid laughs.
I could hear him whispering in my ear last night as I was writing this.
"All right, Cleese, you were saying you are very proud of being
"the very first person ever to say 'shit' on British television.
"If this service is really for me, just for starters,
"I want you to become the first person ever
"at a British memorial service to say 'fuck'."
Of course there is one person missing in the room - Graham.
Graham was missing, dear Gra. "Oh, I'm sorry I'm a bit late, traffic."
Um... Well, one of the things I always felt was a drawback
when we were discussing Python reunions 15 years ago, would be -
will someone come in and play Graham in the sketches?
How do we do it?
And because Python was very much six people writing and performing,
it is like a six-legged table.
Take away one and it is going to wobble a bit.
Things have changed so much
that we can now use of little grabs of Graham
and put them on the screen and just bring him in
as we are going to at certain points.
"Very silly. That's enough!"
-Oh, well, bye for now, Frank. Must toddle.
-You two hermits, stop that sketch. I think it's silly.
-What do you mean? You can't stop it, it's on film.
Doesn't make any difference to the viewer at home, does it?
Come on, get up. Come on, out.
'I'm looking forward to that. Really looking forward to that.'
It will be very touching, really, because...
you know, it is sad he's not around for it.
Good evening, ladies and gentlemen.
It is truly a real honourable experience to be here this evening.
..I'd like to sing for all of you.
# It's Christmas in heaven, da da da da da da... #
And so he starts it on screen.
# It's Christmas in heaven,
# All the children sing... #
But then we'll bring on all our girls in those rather naughty
-titty costumes which we used in The Meaning Of Life.
And the boys will be in white tuxes and we'll have snow...
# ..But it's nice and warm
# And everyone look looks smart and wears a tie... #
-This is our finale...
So we are going to get it going really disco.
We have gone live with the band.
And we get the audience to join in,
and it just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.
# It's Christmas, it's Christmas in heaven
# Hip, hip, hip hooray! #
We use this as our play-off music and then they know it's the end.
MONTY PYTHON THEME: "The Liberty Bell" by JP Sousa
Yes, it's another book launch.
Bear with us. I think it's...
I think it's Michael's.
Yes, that's Michael.
Sorry, I have just seen John Cleese's autobiography advertised.
There it is. It's called 'So, Anyway...'
I wonder when that is coming out? We could be touring at the same time.
We could both be in Northampton.
You very rarely get a Python congratulating another Python
about anything that they have done outside Python.
When John talks about my travel programmes, he always goes,
"Michael, are you going to do any more of those...
He's away travelling, he's doing one of those...
Michael's travel programmes.
Have you seen Michael's travel programmes?
I'm sure he'll be back soon.
You know, we all sort of have a go.
I say, "Oh, John, who is writing your autobiography this year?"
That sort of thing. Of course we emulate each other.
We are seeing what other people are doing. You can't just stop.
You say, "Well, I can do that, and I can do something even better.
"I'm far more popular."
It's opening night for Terry's opera.
In this morning's Guardian, there is
a diary piece which is pretty damning about the production,
describing it as a complete mess.
The author - Terry Gilliam. Enough said.
Still, when I find him, he seems on pretty good form.
Backstage is a miracle place. Every day, miracles are performed.
Impossible situations are made possible. Thanks to them.
-They can't afford proper clothes, but...
-How are you feeling?
I'm fine, I'm just numb. I just want to go to bed.
I'm not even sure if I want to sit around for the show!
Finally, after two years of planning and months of rehearsal,
the moment of truth.
Is it any good?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Five-star reviews will follow tomorrow.
But tonight belongs to Terry Gilliam, the eternal wayward child.
Not just a Python, not just a film director,
an old dog who just can't stop learning new tricks.
I am a complete novice in this business.
But it was partly trying to learn a new job and we are continuing it.
I don't know where it leads, but it is a completely different process
from making films, that's all.
And so, as you reach the final act of your life,
it is nice to try something new.
Do you feel old?
It is one reason that I like working with young people, they are a mirror.
I must be about their age! Oh, 27? Oh, yeah, I feel 27!
No, what it is, I think it is
the basic manic-depressive ride that I'm on.
So Maggie, my wife, knows just how miserable I am.
But then something happens when you start playing. It's off again.
Maybe it's not too late to learn to juggle.
I just need to keep enough going to get to the end
and then I can fall over dead.
It's no good, I just can't go on,
I'm no good any more.
I want to end it all!
I don't feel as though I am any older,
mentally, or even physically, than I was when we did the Python shows.
And of course, I look in the mirror and I'm very old.
What I think what is going to be one of the most difficult things
is the quick changes. When you are over 70,
there is no quick way to get your trousers on and off.
I haven't actually practised taking my trousers on and off quickly.
Would that I had that sort of life.
Um... But I think Velcro will be the order of the day.
This could be the Pythons' Velcro night.
PEOPLE SING AND PRACTISE IN BACKGROUND
And, you know, we might all die by the end of it.
Or even during it.
I am Death!
Yes, well, the thing is, we've got
-some people from America for dinner tonight.
-Who is it, darling?
It's a Mr Death or something, he has come about the reaping.
I don't think we need any, the moment.
Hello. Well, don't leave him hanging around outside, darling. Ask him in.
-All right, Terry?
-Good luck to us. ERIC IDLE:
-No, no problem at all...
-Are the lads gathered?
-Here's Michael, he's here.
Oh, the lads are gathered.
-I think one more song before we go.
# My time's almost done
# My course almost run
# I stand at the edge of that shore
# I feel the tide
# Mocking my pride
# I'd like to hide, but what for?
# We all get a while
# To sing and to smile
# But life has just one fatal flaw
# When our course is run
# We all fade from the sun
# When all said and done, say no more
# No more. #
STAGE MANAGER: OK, thank you.
-Thank you, gents. Have a good show.
-Hey, we're ready!
MONTY PYTHON THEME: "The Liberty Bell" by JP Sousa
AUDIENCE CLAP ALONG
If you have enjoyed this record,
you may be interested to know that there is an exhibition
of old sketches at Sir Henry Irving's birthplace
where you can also see the lady with the big knockers
in the jam commercial.
You know, the one...
Ooh, what's her name...
Ooh, that one...