TV News: The Year of the Python - Classic Comedy on DVD

Written by Paul Mount Wednesday, 19 March 2014

TV News

Although the Chinese zodiac tells us that 2014 is the Year of the Wood Horse, the year is actually shaping up to be the Year of the Python. Terry Gilliam’s latest feature film The Zero Theorem is currently on general release, his legendary and ill-fated The Man Who Killed Don Quixote is finally slated to re-enter production in the autumn and the surviving members of the Monty Python’s Flying Circus comedy troupe (including Gilliam) are reuniting for ten sell-out gigs at London’s 02 arena in July.

But classic TV fans will be thrilled by the news that Network Distributing, purveyors of the finest (and often most obscure) classic archive film and TV, will be releasing The Complete and Utter History of Britain on DVD and Blu Ray in the UK on 7th April. Or more accurately it’s The New (In)Complete Complete and Utter History of Britain. Originally screened between January and February 1969, just prior to the arrival of Monty Python on BBC1, the six-episode series, written by and starring Python alumni Michael Palin and Terry Jones,  “takes a typically skewed look at British history – and reports it as if television had been around to cover it at the time. A notable influence on television comedy, this series fed directly into the work they did for Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” 

Sadly only two of the series’ episodes still exist but both thirty-minute shows will be available on this new release alongside a wealth of bonus material including a brand new fifty-minute feature with exclusive linking material from Palin and Jones and “previously unseen footage from Terry Jones’ personal archive.” Also included is an interview with the series’ producer Humphrey Barclay, an extensive booklet from TV historian Andrew Pixley, image galleries, and the two episodes as ’recorded’ (featuring material not included in the transmitted episodes). 

Ah, takes us right back…I’m a lumberjack and I’m okay, I sleep all night and I work  all day… [That’s not quite right, is it? - Ed] 

The New (In)Complete Complete and Utter History of Britain will be available on DVD and Blu Ray from Network Distributing on 7th April.

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