John Cleese hits out at BBC for taking Monty Python off screens for 20 years | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

John Cleese hits out at BBC for taking Monty Python off screens for 20 years | TV & Radio | Showbiz & TV

The Monty Python’s Flying Circus began broadcasting on the BBC in 1969 and ran for four series until 1974.

The troupe, including John, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman, then went on to star in several films including Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

But John, 79, has now said the group isn’t “going very strong” as he claimed Monty Python haven’t been “put on” the BBC in the past 20 years.

He told Radio Times: “Well, it’s not really going very strong – one needs to point that out because, for reasons that I’m not very clear about, the BBC haven’t put us out on terrestrial television for the best part of 20 years.

“The moment you have a success in Britain, journalists try to write it off – like Charlie Chaplin was never that good anyway [laughs]. For a long time there was that kind of ingrained negativity.

“As a result, I find that there’s a lot more enthusiasm for Python in America, Canada and Australia than there is in the UK.”

Monty Python’s Flying Circus is set to celebrate its 50th birthday on October 5.

Ahead of the anniversary the BFI will be holding a month-long celebration of the group.

Fans will be able to see screenings of the film and television work of the Pythons from the past five decades.

Meanwhile, John returned to screens in August as the second series of BBC sitcom Hold the Sunset aired.

In the programme, the actor stars as Phil opposite Alison Steadman’s Edith.

However, the debut episode of the second run was not a hit with some viewers.

One fan tweeted: “Although I love each of the actors in #holdthesunset in other things, this is total rubbish. Perhaps the actors have nothing better to do, although I doubt it.”

“#holdthesunset I didn’t think this needed a second series. I love everyone in this cast. In other things. They are so much better than this tripe!” another wrote.

A third said: “The BBC could have made another series of something like The Fades, but instead they [make] another series of #holdthesunset.

“#HoldTheSunset? Another series? Thought that was dead & buried ffs,” remarked a fourth.

While a fifth commented: “Such a good cast so wasted #holdthesunset.”

Although, some praised the series as it came back for another run.

One opined: “Splendid cast in #holdthesunset. Quite enjoyed this gentle comedy.”

“Brilliant I do love #holdthesunset so glad it’s back, such a great cast tonight all fantastic,” another added.

The full interview with John Cleese is available in the latest edition of Radio Times which is out now.

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