In this it’s 50th year, there’s an exhibition about Monty Python at the BFI Southbank as part of their series of film screenings.

Pinning down the origins of the Pythons can settle on three dates – the meeting of the gang in the Hampstead tandoori restaurant in May 1969, the date of the recording of the show on 7th September 1969 or the date of broadcast, the 5th October 1969.

The exhibition is a mix of a selection of photos and relics from the TV years and some record covers, but most of it is given over to the film era

The hugely controversial Life of Brian turns out to have had a working title of Monty Python’s Life of Christ, which can’t have helped matters. Amusingly, some of the film sets were borrowed from Franco Zeffirelli’s mini-series, Jesus of Nazareth.

Some storyboards from the film are on show as well.

The Holy Grail is included – as in the film, not the actual Grail itself, but most time absorbing is a student film made in 1970 where Victor Jamison bumped into John Cleese and asked permission to make a documentary — and that’s what’s shown, a student film documentary offering some behind the scenes glimpses of making the famous TV show.

It’s a small exhibition, on the Mezzanine space above the tickets sales area, but Monty Python fans will still love it, and newbies to their sense of humour may learn a bit about their anarchic history.

The exhibition, Monty Python Explodes! is open daily until 13th October and is free to visit.

Eric Idle is not welcome.


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