Monty Python

Terence Vance Gilliam

Date of birth: 22. November 1940

Place of birth: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Date of death: Not any time soon, I think

Height: TOP SECRET

Sexual preference: Female.

Spouse: Maggie Weston (1973 - present)

Children: 2 daughters and 1 son. Amy, Holly and Harry

Nickname: Captain Chaos

Education: Occidental College, Fine Arts

Terry Gilliam has acted in a few movies other than the Monty Python movies but is mostly known for writing screenplays and directing (besides his animations). He has written and directed Fear & loathing in Las Vegas (1998), The adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988), Brazil (1985, he got an Ocsar nomination for co-writing the screenplay), Time bandits (1981) and Jabberwocky (1977). He has also written the tv series Broaden your mind (1968), Marty (1968) and Do not adjust your set (1967). He has directed the movies Twelve Monkeys (1995), Fisher King (1991), The miracle of flight (1974) and Storytime (1968). He turned down the offers of directing Who framed Roger Rabbit, Enemy mine and Forrest Gump. He produced The piano tuner of earthquakes (2004) and Time bandits (1981). His upcoming projects are Tideland which he wrote and is directing (2006) and The Brother Grimms which he directed (2005).

Writing the show

The Monty Python team soon had their own writing styles and groups.
John Cleese would write with Graham Chapman and often create surreal humour. Terry Jones and Michael Palin kept their old writing partnership and Eric Idle wrote on his own, normally a witty verbal sketch. Terry Gilliam was not involved with writing the shows as such but instead provided animations for the shows.
According to John Cleese there were a lot of "Artistic Fights" within the group over the show's content and now and again furniture would be thrown and people would storm out of the room. This was probably the main disadvantage with having five writers all battling for the biggest ego.

The show

In total there were four series of "Monty Python's Flying Circus" containing 45 shows. By the start of series 4 however John Cleese had left the group to work on his own projects with his wife Connie Booth.
The shows were mainly a mix of zany madcap humour, satire and school boy pranks and jokes. Memorable sketches include "Spam Sketch", "Nudge, Nudge", "Upper Class Twit Of The Year" and the unforgettable "Parrot Sketch". The main "theme" that the shows revolved around was that there should be no beginning or end to the sketches but more of a stream of consciousness instead. The Pythons inherited this idea from a show which Spike Milligan did called "Q5" in which the same sort of idea was expressed.

Background

In 1969 a team of writers merged to become the entity and persona known as "Monty Python". Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin had all worked for BBC (British Broadcasting Corp.) before in various capacities.
John Cleese had worked on a show called "The Frost Report" and with Graham Chapman he co-wrote "At Last, the 1948 Show". Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Gilliam had been working on a show called "Do Not Adjust Your Set". With the help of the BBC's script editor and head of comedy the two groups merged and were thrown straight into a series without a pilot for a run of 13 shows.
The show's title "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was derived from the BBC's initial idea of "John Cleese's Flying Circus". John did not want the show to revolve around him and as a result he suggested "Python" and Eric Idle suggested "Monty".

The Meaning of Life

Produced in 1983

Directed by: Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam

Writing credits: Eric Idle, Graham Chapmam, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Starring: Eric Idle, Graham Chapmam, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Simon Jones, Patricia Quinn and more

Lenght: 107 min.

The meaning of life was the Monty Python team last movie. This movie is very similar to the Monty Python’s Flying circus shows because it is built up as a row of small sketches. There isn’t a storyline throughout the film but often there is a connection between the sketches. Basically it is about life, from birth to death. The film is full of religious, vulgar, and sexual humor that may offend some groups. There are even musical numbers, but with that same old Monty Python humour.

Life of Brian

Produced in 1979

Directed by: Terry Jones

Writing credits: Eric Idle, Graham Chapmam, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Starring: Eric Idle, Graham Chapmam, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Terence Bayler Kenneth Colley and more

Runtime: 97 min.

Brian is born in a stable on Christmas eve. The wise men take a fail and begin to give him gifts that jesus should get. The star moves further, so they take the gifts back and move on. This is how Brian's life goes on.
Next we see Brian as a grown up man. At the time jews are looking for a release from the Romans, Spiritual and political decay, and Brian joins the Judean People's Front, one of several dozen separatist groups who actually do nothing, but really hate the Romans.
A group of people mistakably take Brian for the Messiah. He cannot convince them he is not. A row of convincident actions leads to Brian's conviction and even then someone else is let free instead of Brian.
The film ends when Brian among others are being crusified and they are all singin: Always look in the bright side of life.

The Holy Grail

Produced in 1979

Directed by: Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam

Writing credits: Eric Idle, Graham Chapmam, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones

Starring: Eric Idle, Graham Chapmam, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth, Niel Innes and more

Runtime: 91 min.

The movie starts out with Arthur, King of the Britons, looking for knights to sit with him at Camelot. He finds many knights including Sir Galahad the pure, Sir Lancelot the brave, the quiet Sir Bedevere, and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot.
God comes to them from a cloud and tells them to find the Holy Grail. They agree and begin their search. Throughout their search they meet interesting people and knights along the way. Most of the characters die; some through a killer rabbit, others from not answering a question right from the bridge of Death, or die some other ridiculous way.
In the end, King Arthur and Sir Bedevere are left and find the Castle Arrrghhh where the Holy Grail is. They are met by some French soldiers who taunted them earlier in the film, so they were not able to get into the castle. The movie ends with both King Arthur and Sir Bedevere getting arrested for killing a real-life man who was a historian.

Terrence Graham Perry Jones

Date of birth: 1. February 1942

Place of birth: Colwyn Bay, N-Wales

Date of birth: You'll have to ask him

Height: 173 cm (fifth tallest Python member)

Sexual preference: Female, to the best of my knowledge

Spouse: Alison Telfer (1970-present)

Children: Daughter, Sally (1974) and son, Bill (1976)

Siblings: Brother, Nigel (1940)

Hobbies: Comedy and The Goons

Education: English at Oxford

Personal quote: [On the death of Graham Chapman] I thought it was in terribly bad taste for him to die when he did.

Terry Jones has written, directed and acted in many movies. He has written movies such as The unsteady cough (2004), Medieval lives (2004), Asterix and Obelix vs. Caesar (1999), Wind in the willows (1996), The Crusades (1995), Erik the Viking (1989, it was based on a children’s book by Jones), Consuming passions (1988) and tv series such as Ripping yarns (1976, he wrote it with Michael Palin), Complete and utter history of Britain (1969, which he also wrote with Palin), Broaden your mind (1968) and Do not adjust your set (1967). He has acted in movies like The unsteady cough (2004), Green card fever (2003), The boy in darkness (2000), Wind in the willows (1996), Erik the Viking (1989), The Crimson permanent assurance (1983), Jabberwocky (1977), and Mermaid Frolics (1977). Besides the Monty Python movies he has directed Educating tips no. 41: choosing a really expensive school (2003), The BFI London signature film (1999), The wind in the willows (1996), Erik the Viking (1989), Personal services (1987) and the tv series The young Indiana Jones chronicles (1992).

Michael Edward Palin

Date of birth: 5. May 1943

Place of birth: Yorkshire, UK

Date of death: Not any time soon, I think

Height: 175 cm (fourth tallest Python member)

Sexual preference: Female, or so he says

Spouse: Helen Gibbins (1966-present)

Children: 2 sons and 1 daughter. Thomas (1969), William (1971) and Rachel (1975)

Favourite football team: Sheffield Wednesday Football Club

Education: History degree fron Oxford

Personal quote: [about the death of Graham Chapman]He always regarded death as highly overrated and could never understand why anybody made such a fuss about it.

Michael Palin is mainly known for acting and writing. He has acted in many movies made by the other Monty Python members such as Education tips no. 41: choosing a really expensive school (2003), Fierce creatures (1997), A fish called Wanda (1988), Brazil (1985), Time bandits (1981), The Rutles (1978) and Jabberwocky (1977). He has also acted in movies without the other Monty Python members such as The willows in winter (1996), The missionary (1982), A private function (1984) and in tv series like Tracey Ullman: a class act (1992), G.B.H. (1991), Complete and utter history of Britain (1969) and Do not adjust your set (1967). He has written many tv series like Himalaya (2004), The best of two Ronnies (2004), Sahara (2002), Full circle with Michael Palin (1997), Pole to pole (1933), Around the world in 80 days (1989), Complete and utter history of Britain and Adjust your set. He has also written movies like Hemingway adventure (1999) and American friends (1991). He composed many songs for the Monty Python’s Flying Circus and also for the Monty Python’s movies. He has produced one movie; The missionary in 1982. He has appeared in Saturday night live many times.

John Marwood Cleese

Date of birth: 27. October 1939

Place of birth: Somerset, UK

Date of death: Undetermined

Height: 195 cm (tallest Python member)

Sexual preference: Female, and lots of them

Spouse: Connie Booth (1968-1978) Barbara Trentham (1981-1990) Alice Faye Eichelberger (1992-present)

Children: 2 daughters

Hobbies: Gluttony, sloth

Education: Law degree from Cambridge

Personal quote:
My mum died about three years ago at the age of 101, and just towards the end, as she began to run out of energy, she did actually stop trying to tell me what to do most of the time.

John Cleese is the most visible actor of the group. He has been in many recent movies like the James Bond movies and the Harry Potter movies, Shrek 2 (2004), Charlie’s angels: Full throttle (2003), Rat race (2001), The-out-of-towners (1999) and older ones such as Fierce creatures (1997), Splitting heirs (1993), A fish called Wanda (1988) and Clockwise (1986). These are only very few examples of his movies. He has written many movies like Fierce Creatures and A fish called Wanda (for which he got an oscar nomination for best screenplay), and also tv series like The human face (2001), Fawlty Towers (1975) and Doctor in the house (1969) which he wrote with Graham Chapman. He used to produce a lot of movies but the last movie he produced came out in 1997. That was the movie Fierce creatures. He has only directed one movie and that was A fish called Wanda. He has not composed much, only a few songs in The meaning of life. He says himself that he is a terrible singer. He has appeared in a few guest roles like The muppet show, Satuday night live and Cheers for which he received an Emmy award in 1987. He most recently appeared in the tv series Will & Grace. HHHhHis upcoming projects are Bond 21 (2006), Man about town (2005), Valiant (2005) and Complete guide to guys (2005).

Graham Arthur Chapman

Date of birth: 8. January 1941, 8:30 AM

Place of birth: Leicester, UK

Date of death: 4. October 1989

Cause of death: Thoat and spinal cancer

Height: 188 cm (second tallest Python member)

Sexual preference: Male

Partner: David Sherlock

Children: Adopted runaway, John Tomiczek

Education: Medicine at Cambridge

Personal quote: I hope I will have achieved something lasting.

Graham Chapman mainly wrote and acted in movies. He wrote for example the movies Jake’s journey (1988), Opinions (1984), Yellowbeard (1983, it got bad reviews), The odd job (1978), The magnificent seven deadly sins (1971) and the tv series Doctor on the go (1975), The prince of Denmark (1974), The doctor in charge (1972), Now look here (1971) and Doctor in the house (1969, he wrote it with John Cleese). He acted in movies such as Stage fright (1989), Jake’s journey (1988), Yellowbeard (1983), The crimson permanent assurance (1983), The odd job (1978) and How to irritate people (1968).
He produced two movies, Love potion (1987) and The odd job (1978). He last appeared on film in the Iron maiden music video Can I play with madness in 1988.

Eric Idle

Date of birth: 29. March 1943

Place of birth: South Shields, UK

Date of death: Undetermined

Height: 187 cm (third largest Python member)

Sexual preference: Female

Spouse: Lyn Ashley (1969-1975) Tania Kosevich (1981-present)

Children: Daughter, Lily. Born 1990. Son, Carey. Born 1973.

Favourite football team: Sunderland Football Club

Hobbies: football and the guitar.

Education: English at Cambridge University

Personal quote: John (Cleese) once told me he'd do anything for money. So I offered him a pound to shut up, and he took it.

Eric Idle is the only Monty Python member who wrote alone. He plays guitar and has been a composer on a few movies and tv series, mostly in the Monty Python movies (his most famous song is Always look on the bright side of life). He has acted in many movies and tv series during and after Monty Python, sometimes only lending the movies his voice (A few examples are Ella enchanted 2004, Hollywood homicide 2003, Pinocchio 2002, 102 Dalmatians 2000, South Park: bigger longer & uncut 1999, The adventures of Baron Munchausen 1988 and The Rutles 1978). He has written many tv series such as The Two Ronnies (1971), Hark at Barker (1969), Broaden your mind (1968), We have ways of making you laugh (1968), According to Dora (1968) and Do not adjust your set (1967). He has produced a little and directed one tv series in 1982 and The Rutles in 1978. He has also directed and appeared in Saturday night live a few times. Right now he is working on Spamalot, a play/musical that is based on Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It is supposed to be shown on Broadway in 2005. He got permission from the other Python members to do this because they liked his script.