Monty Python's Personal Best
Calling all fans of Spam, dead parrots, upper-class twits and lumberjacks! MONTY PYTHON'S PERSONAL BEST, six one-hour specials airing on PBS February 22-March 8, 2006, 9:00-11:00 p.m. ET., showcases the all-time favorites of the groundbreaking masters of sketch comedy: Monty Python.
Each episode will include members of the original Monty Python troupe performing in favorite clips from their unorthodox television series, "Monty Python's Flying Circus," repurposed with exclusive new material. Each of the five living Pythons - John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin - produced and wrote his own episode, and collaborated to create the sixth special in honor of deceased member Graham Chapman. The episodes will air over a three week period in two-hour blocks on PBS on February 22, March 1 and March 8.
"As the network that originally introduced the fresh and unconventional comedy of Monty Python to America, PBS is proud to present these new specials," said John F. Wilson, PBS senior vice president and co-chief programming executive. "These specials will allow Monty Python fans to learn more about the men who have made them laugh for decades, while introducing a whole new generation to these world-renowned comedians."
Viewers familiar with the Pythons or new to their zany brand of chaos will be treated to the troupe's favorites, including:
* "Michael Palin's Personal Best"--Michael Palin takes a look at one of Britain's most popular leisure pursuits: fish slapping. In possibly the first in-depth documentary on this piscine subject, he examines method, technique and equipment. In between are some of his favorite sketches from "Monty Python's Flying Circus," including the Cheese Shop, Blackmail and, appropriately, the Piranha Brothers.
* "Eric Idle's Personal Best"--Eric Idle returns to the Hollywood Bowl to introduce his favorite skits from "Monty Python's Flying Circus." Idle has been described by some as the third-tallest member of the Monty Python team and this is reflected in his selections, which include the Silly Olympics, Bruces, Lumberjacks and the Hairdressers' Expedition to Mount Everest.
* "Terry Jones' Personal Best"--Terry Jones reveals for the first time that he was the true creative genius behind Monty Python and in fact wrote all the shows himself. This makes the job of selecting his favorites all the harder, but he manages to produce an hour that features The Bishop, News for Parrots, Bicycle Repair Man and the Spanish Inquisition.
* "John Cleese's Personal Best"--John Cleese chooses instructive selections as his favorite sketches from "Monty Python's Flying Circus." Viewers learn how to defend themselves against fresh fruit, perform brain surgery Gumby-style and fly. For music lovers, there's the exploding version of the Blue Danube.
* "Terry Gilliam's Personal Best"--Terry Gilliam is animated about animation as he presents his cartoon favorites from "Monty Python's Flying Circus." It's a reversal of the original shows, as live-action segments link the cartoons in a surreal collection of killer cars, sprouting hands and dancing teeth.
* "Graham Chapman's Personal Best"--This memoir of the late Graham Chapman from his fellow Pythons includes their favorites featuring Chapman and a selection of Chapman's own favorites. The show includes Spam, wrestling, a documentary on mollusks and the wit of Oscar Wilde.
The Pythons burst onto the scene in October 1969 when "Monty Python's Flying Circus" debuted in Britain to a startled UK audience. The series' 45 episodes ran until December 1974. American audiences were first introduced to such phrases as "nudge, nudge, wink, wink," "naughty bits" and "nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" when PBS stations obtained broadcast rights to the series in 1974.
In addition to the television series, the group released several feature-length films, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), The Life of Brian (1979) and Monty Python Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982). In 2005 Monty Python's Spamalot premiered on Broadway to critical and audience acclaim, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical (2005).