'Life of Brian' was true, theologian swears on Bible
It was once denounced as blasphemous and an insult to Christians, but yesterday one of Britain's most respected theologians insisted that Monty Python's 'Life of Brian' is in fact a "remarkable tribute to the life of Jesus".
The Rev Prof Richard Burridge, Dean of King's College London, said that Christians who called for the satire to be banned after its release in 1979 were "embarrassingly" ill-informed and missed a major opportunity to promote the Christian message.
Prof Burridge said that the film's depiction of faction-ridden messianic movements in 1st Century Judea was probably a more historically accurate portrayal of the setting than many Hollywood films about Jesus.
He was speaking as Michael Palin devoted a slot on BBC Radio 4's 'Today' programme, as its guest editor, to reliving the controversy over the film.
Palin and John Cleese were castigated by the then Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Mervyn Stockwood, and the Catholic journalist Malcolm Muggeridge in a televised confrontation over the film at the time.
The pair, who are preparing for the Pythons' reunion next year, discussed the encounter on 'Today'.
Cleese said he was "astonished" at how "stupid" some of what was said about the film had been. (© Daily Telegraph, London)