John Cleese Wrongly Rages At The BBC For Not Showing ‘Monty Python’ Repeats


John Cleese gave fresh voice to a familiar grudge on Tuesday, raging at the BBC for not showing repeats of Monty Python.

The 83-year-old actor and comedian asked his 5.6M Twitter followers: “Can anyone (including BBC employees) tell me why the BBC has not shown Monty Python for a couple of decades?”

The question overlooked the BBC’s celebration of the iconic comedy, including the broadcast of the first episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, to mark its 50th anniversary in 2019.

John Hoare, a TV playout director, replied to Cleese reminding him of the night dedicated to Python on the BBC. “I sat in BBC Two’s pres suite on the 7th September 2019, prepped an episode of Monty Python for transmission as part of an evening of Python-related programmes, and then put it on air, if that helps,” Hoare said.

Cleese’s tweet also did not mention rights deals done for the Monty Python back catalog. The show and movies, including Monty Python and the Holy Grail, all stream on Netflix in the UK.

That’s TV, a British television channel, also did a deal earlier this year to repeat all four seasons of the comedy, which starred Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam.

The rights to Monty Python are owned by Python (Monty) Pictures. Cleese, Palin, Idle and Gilliam are all executive directors at the UK company.

Cleese’s tweet about Python was interpreted as a dog whistle around cancel culture, which he has vociferously campaigned against in recent years.

He was set to make a documentary for Channel 4 on the subject. Cleese has also announced plans to host a show on GB News, the right-wing UK news channel, that will champion free speech.

Responding to Cleese’s question about the BBC, Rob Schneider said: “They haven’t finished editing out the parts that don’t fit into their ideology. Which is the entire series!”

Cleese has complained a number of times about the BBC failing to show Python. In 2020, he said: “The BBC has not put Monty Python out on terrestrial television now for 20 years and young people don’t know about it… Now young people have no idea who I am, and it seems odd as I think they would enjoy Python.”

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