Monty Python reunion: Surviving members to reform for a stage show

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

The hit 1970s group are expected to formally announce the reunion on Thursday

It’s the reunion which John Cleese once dismissed as “absolutely impossible”. But hatchets have been buried and grudges set aside as the surviving members of the ground-breaking comedy troupe confirmed that the Monty Python circus will fly once again.

Click here to see more archive pictures of the Monty Python

Following months of secret talks, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will announce their plans at a London press conference on Thursday.

The reunion, expected to involve a stage show and a television special, is the first time that the remaining members have worked together on a full-length project since The Meaning Of Life film in 1983.

The death of Graham Chapman in 1989 was previously thought to have ended any hopes that their absurdist humour, which revolutionised comedy following the 1969 television debut of Monty Python's Flying Circus, could be recreated.

Previous attempts to engineer a reunion tour, usually driven by Idle, 70, creator of the £100 million-grossing Spamalot musical, have fallen foul of internal squabbles over business issues.

Cleese, 74, said sitting the Pythons down in one room to perform comedy was a geographical impossibility. But the Python parrot was not dead, just resting for 30 years, it transpires.

Jones, 71, told the BBC. “We’re getting together and putting on a show – it’s real. I’m quite excited about it. I hope it makes us a lot of money. I hope to be able to pay off my mortgage!”

Idle tweeted: “Python meeting this morning. Can't wait.”

A world tour, re-enacting Python’s “greatest hits” such as the famous “Dead Parrot” sketch, would prove hugely lucrative. The film and television legacy left by the “Beatles of comedy” retains huge popularity in North America.

The Pythons hinted that they could revisit previously unreleased sketches. Palin, 70, said: “There was much more material written for the Meaning of Life and not used - probably as much as three times as much as we put in.” Cleese added: "Maybe we should do a Meaning of Life 2?"

Palin and Jones have recently re-filmed lost material from their 1969 ITV sketch show The Complete And Utter History Of Britain, which helped form the Flying Circus template, for a DVD release next Spring.

Fans will hope that the long-awaited reunion was prompted by a desire to create fresh mirth worthy of the brand, rather than financial motivations. Earlier this year, the surviving members were ordered to pay extra royalties to Mark Forstater, a producer of the 1975 film Monty Python and The Holy Grail, who won a High Court case over Spamalot profits.

This year, Cleese sold off his art collection and completed an Alimony live tour, to help pay for his divorce from his third wife, American psychotherapist Alyce Faye Eichelberger.

The five remaining members of the comedy group appeared together in 1998 at the Aspen Comedy Festival in the US.

They almost agreed to a 1999 US tour but Palin pulled out at the last minute. “At which point Eric became very cross,” recalled Cleese, who also disappointed Idle when he decided not to take part in a mooted sequel to the Holy Grail.

Idle once joked: “We would only do a reunion if Chapman came back from the dead. So we're negotiating with his agent.”

The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus was broadcast on October 5, 1969. It ran for four series and spawned spin-off records, books and even German-language specials.

The comedy group made their successful film Monty Python and the Holy Grail on a small budget in between filming the third and fourth series of of the TV show.

Monty Python’s Life Of Brian, released in 1979, telling the story of a man mistaken for Jesus, was attacked by Christian groups and banned in some areas but has since been named the greatest comedy film of all time.

After The Meaning Of Life, another financial and critical success, the Pythons went on to forge successful solo careers.

Cleese, who had previously co-created the classic Fawlty Towers sitcom in 1975 went on write the hit film A Fish Called Wanda in 1988, which he starred in with Palin.

Gilliam, whose unique animation style became a key element of the Flying Circus, became a successful film director, with credits including the ambitious sci-fi fantasy Brazil and The Fisher King.

Palin made hit travel shows, including Around The World In 80 Days and won a Bafta Academy Fellowship Award this year.

Idle wrote the global hit musical Spamalot and enjoyed a 1991 hit song with "Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life" from the Life Of Brian soundtrack.

Jones directed an adaptation of The Wind in the Willows and has written books and hosted television history documentaries.

Chapman, who played the lead in Holy Grail and Life Of Brian died, after developing tonsil cancer and secondary spinal cancer, aged 48 in 1989.

The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus was broadcast on October 5, 1969. The zany series, featured open-ended sketches, which dispensed with traditional punchlines,

Its 45 episodes spawned a host of memorable sketches including Dead Parrot, Spam, The Lumberjack Song and The Spanish Inquisition.

Python’s surreal humour influenced generations of comedians including Vic Reeves and Eddie Izzard.

Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Arts and Entertainment
Panic! In The Disco's Brendon Urie performs on stage

music
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

    Screwing your way to the top?

    Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
    Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

    Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

    Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

    Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

    The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

    The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

    Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
    US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

    Meet the US Army's shooting star

    Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
    Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

    Take a good look while you can

    How climate change could wipe out this seal
    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

    Farewell, my lovely

    Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
    Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

    Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

    Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

    Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

    John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

    A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
    Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

    Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

    The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
    The 10 best pedicure products

    Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

    Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

    Commonwealth Games 2014

    Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
    Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

    Jack Pitt-Brooke

    Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
    How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

    Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game