top of page

When did Monty Python start?

I don't know about you, but Monty Python has evoked more than a few laughs through the years. My first memory of seeing a show was in high school, it was Monty Python and the Holy Grail... and to this day I haven't been able to see a coconut without thinking about Monty Python.

The first episode of seminal comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus, subtitled 'Whither Canada?', was broadcast just before 11pm on Sunday, October 5, 1969. The Radio Times celebrated the launch with a spoof board game that set Monty Python in the context of previous satirical and late night shows. In the first program sketches included 'famous deaths' presented by Mozart, the writing of the funniest and deadliest joke in the world, and an interview with Arthur 'Two Sheds' Jackson.

The writers and performers of Monty Python were assembled by Barry Took. Graham Chapman and John Cleese had previously worked together on At Last the1948 Show. Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin and Terry Gilliam had just finished Do Not Adjust Your Set. 'Whither Canada?' also featured Carol Cleveland, who became a regular cast member. The Flying Circus team developed the stream of consciousness form of Spike Milligan's anarchic and absurd comedy Q5 and by adding Gilliam's cartoon links, created a loose narrative.

The series (which lasted from 1969-1974) lead to a number of feature films—most notably Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), Monty Python’s Life of Brian (1979), and Monty Python’s the Meaning of Life (1983)—and major stage works. Monty Python and the Holy Grail was later adapted into the Tony Award-winning musical comedy Spamalot, first produced in 2005.

The influence of Monty Python's Flying Circus has been so great that the word 'pythonesque' is now in the dictionary.

3 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page