The Wire: Pythons, Pythons Everywhere


Move over Woodstock and Neil Armstrong, it's time to celebrate something completely different: the 40th anniversary of Monty Python's Flying Circus' debut on the BBC.

IFC's been gearing up for a while, gathering the five surviving members of the super-smart British comedy troupe for a six-hour documentary that starts Oct. 18: Monty Python: Almost The Truth (Lawyer's Cut).

The Rainbow Media outlet upped the ante last week, saying it's bought the rights to air 45 episodes of the original series, which first aired in the States in 1975. Thus IFC's further inflating the Python-athon beyond the doc and Python movies such as Monty Python's Life of Brian and the one about the Holy Grail that begat Broadway's Spamalot.

John Cleese in Python documentary

Deal terms weren't released. But some TV folks are less surprised now that the Pythons, who don't always get along so well, came together for the doc.

IFC and BAFTA are also bringing them to New York to receive a BAFTA award after a screening on Thursday, an event The Wire already chronicled.

But wait, there's more:

* Wednesday night, BAFTA East Coast hosts a panel discussion in Manhattan on "40 years of British contributions to American pop culture (nudge nudge, wink wink)," with Rainbow CEO Joshua Sapan, BBC Worldwide Americas president Garth Ancier and BAFTA chairman David Parfitt.

* Fawlty Towers, Python John Cleese's second-most famous TV show, is out on DVD in remastered form on Oct. 20. Which is very good news for Cleese, whose $20 million divorce settlement prompted him to do a one-man show, the "How to Finance Your Divorce Tour." In it, he describes his former wife as "the special love child of Bernie Madoff and Heather Mills."

* Python Eric Idle, the creator of Spamalot, co-directed a re-enactment of Python sketches, titled An Evening Without Monty Python, at New York's Town Hall last week.

* Not The Messiah (He's a Very Naughty Boy), Idle's adaptation of Life of Brian (and a spoof of Handel's oratorio Messiah), will be performed in London's Royal Albert Hall on Oct. 23.

The Wire's beginning to wonder if this isn't a case of beating a dead parrot. Beautiful plumage, though.