Council lifts 'Life of Brian' ban

The famous Monty Python comedy The Life of Brian is to be screened for the first time in a holiday resort after a council ban was declared void, it was announced today.

The classic film, released in November 1979, was effectively banned in Torbay, south Devon, when the local authority voted that the 15 certificate was not strong enough and that it should be given an 18 rating.

Distributors Cinema International Corporation refused to change the film and said it would not be shown unless it was unedited and carrying the original certificate.

No compromise was reached and the film was never shown but now Python fans will finally get a chance to watch their heroes on the big screen at the English Riviera International Comedy Film Festival.

The Life Of Brian won an online poll to be shown at the festival and, after taking legal advice, Torbay Council deemed the previous ruling redundant.

A spokeswoman said: "At the time the council had powers to look at the age ratings of films.

"There was quite a lot of opposition from residents who felt quite strongly that the film should be an 18 certificate.

"The members approved, they felt it should be an 18 to protect the people in Torbay.

"The council do not have those powers any more and therefore the decision relating to the previous screening of the film is void."

Matt Newbury, one of the team organising the festival, said: "We only became aware that there could be a problem after an informal chat with our MP Adrian Sanders, who remembered that the film had in effect been banned all those years ago."

Torbay Mayor Nick Bye said: "The world has moved on. "I haven't seen the film but I welcome its showing on Sunday."