Monday 22 October 2018

Unseen Monty Python sketches discovered in Michael Palin’s archives

They contain early drafts of material from Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Keiran Southern

Unseen sketches from Monty Python have been discovered in the archives of Michael Palin.

The comedy group – containing Palin, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Terry Jones – produced their last film 35 years ago but boxes of material have now emerged, according to The Times.

The material was deposited at the British Library last year and it has now been revealed it contains unused script ideas, including two sketches written for Monty Python And The Holy Grail.

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Monty Python star donated some of his personal archive to the British Library (Tony Antoniou/British Library/PA)

One of the sketches is about a Wild West bookshop while another features an “amorous Pink Knight”.

They will go on display to the public along with more than 50 notebooks containing notes on two of the Pythons’ films, Holy Grail and Life Of Brian.

Material deemed controversial at the time was discarded and would even be seen as too risque today, according to the newspaper.

Palin, 75, has given permission for the sketches to be reproduced and admitted the group often produced more material than was needed.

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The material was donated by Palin last year (Tony Antoniou/British Library/PA)

He said: “Sometimes you have things like that. I can’t think why it wasn’t used. The Holy Grail took shape gradually and at the beginning it had far more ideas in it than ended up on screen because you had to have a narrative. In the end the story of the knights was strong enough.”

The material was donated to the British Library by Palin last year.

The archive spans the writer, actor, comedian and TV presenter’s literary and creative life for more than 20 years, from 1965 to 1987.

On Monday, Cleese suggested the reason Monty Python’s Flying Circus is no longer regularly shown on TV is because it’s “too funny” compared to modern comedies.

Read more: John Cleese suggests Monty Python is too funny to be shown on TV today

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