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Saturday 25 February 2017

Jones reflects on Life Of Brian

Terry Jones directed and acted in the cult film
Terry Jones directed and acted in the cult film

Monty Python veteran Terry Jones has revealed he would shy away from making classic British comedy Life Of Brian today, because of a resurgence in religious belief.

Terry directed and acted in the 1979 film, starring the likes of John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman, Terry Gilliam and Eric Idle, which sparked a religious storm and accusations of blasphemy.

Opponents of the now-celebrated comedy, which was a worldwide box-office success, claimed it made fun of Jesus.

But Terry told the Radio Times: "I never thought it would be as controversial as it turned out, although I remember saying when we were writing it that some religious nut case may take pot shots at us, and everyone replied, 'no'."

The 69-year-old said: "I took the view it wasn't blasphemous. It was heretical because it criticised the structure of the church and the way it interpreted the Gospels.

"At the time religion seemed to be on the back burner and it felt like kicking a dead donkey. It's come back with a vengeance and we'd think twice about making it now."

Asked whether he would make a similarly satirical film about Muslims, he said: "Probably not - looking at Salman Rushdie (whose controversial book The Satanic Verses forced him into hiding for 10 years).

"I suppose people would be frightened. I think it's whipped up by the arms industry."

Terry was interviewed by the magazine to mark a BBC4 comedy drama, Holy Flying Circus, about the opposition to the film.

The BBC is also reconstructing the TV debate Friday Night...Saturday Morning, which took place between Cleese and Palin and the Bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood, and Malcolm Muggeridge, who thought the film was blasphemous.

Press Association

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