The original members of Monty Python will reunite more than 30 years after the comedy troupe last worked together.
John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Eric Idle and Michael Palin will officially announce their reformation at a London press conference on Thursday. The five surviving members have reportedly been in months of secret talks about getting the Flying Circus back on the road.
The reunion comes after several failed attempts to reform by the group. However, the surviving members realised “it was now or never”, and had decided to embark upon “a fully-fledged reunion”.
Eric Idle posted on Twitter about the 'Python Press Conference', suggesting it would happen later this week.
It is thought that the Pythons will perform live again, with the potential for a film or TV show to follow. But it it not known if they will be performing old or new material or both.
With all five members in their seventies, and with a combined age of 357 years, 30 years have passed since the Pythons last appeared together in The Meaning of Life. Hopes of a reunion were dashed after sixth member, Graham Chapman, died in 1989 from cancer and the other Pythons have been pursuing solo projects since the early 1980s.
Certain joint projects have brought some of the Pythons back together. In 1996, Jones, Idle, Cleese and Palin starred in Jones's film adaptation of The Wind in the Willows. Gilliam was considered to voice the part of the river. Less than a decade later, Spamalot, the West End show "lovingly ripped off" from the group's 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, saw some members briefly appear together on stage, though a full Monty Python reunion has always looked unlikely.
That's not to say there haven't been attempts. In 1999, the five made plans to tour America as a group, but Palin left the project. His departure reportedly angered Idle. Various reasons have been given by the Pythons as to why a reunion has not happened. While Cleese highlighted the impracticalities in 2003, saying it was "absolutely impossible to get even a majority of us together in a room, and I'm not joking".
Idle, however, suggested that it was the absence of Chapman that would prevent a reunion, joking in 2010 that it would happen "just as soon as Graham Chapman comes back from the dead. We're talking to his agent about terms."
In 2012, Jones announced that the five members would reunite in Absolutely Anything, a sci-fi film he would be directing and had co-written. The Pythons were to voice alien characters. However Idle responded that he would not be participating and Cleese explained that all the members were too busy with their own projects.