World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Holy Flying Circus

Holy Flying Circus
DVD cover art
Directed by Owen Harris
Produced by Polly Leys
Kate Norrish
Written by Tony Roche
Starring Darren Boyd
Charles Edwards
Steve Punt
Rufus Jones
Tom Fisher
Phil Nichol
Music by Jack C. Arnold
Cinematography Richard Mott
Editing by Billy Sneddon
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Original channel BBC Four
Release date
  • 19 October 2011 (2011-10-19) (UK)
Running time 90 minutes

Holy Flying Circus (2011) is a 90-minute BBC television comedy film first broadcast in 2011, written by Tony Roche and directed by Owen Harris.

The film is a "Pythonesque" dramatisation of events following the completion of Monty Python's Life of Brian, culminating in the televised debate about the film broadcast in 1979.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Reception 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


At a meeting in the offices of their film distributor they discuss allowing the film to be released in America first because of the America's first amendment. Cleese voices his support for the idea, and says that he loves Americans. We then see American reporters at a screening of the movie where a near riot is taking place due to the alleged blasphemous nature of the film. The Pythons review a disheartening statement made by a religious leader, implying that the film causes violence. Cleese misinterprets this (possibly deliberately) and goes off on a tangent about little kids carrying out copycat crucifixions on their friends. Their distributor, Barry, suggests a low profile approach for the UK release so as not to cause too much upset. "Let's not project an advert onto the side of Westminster Abbey or make Life of Brian Christmas crackers".

Much of the film is taken up with preparations for a debate on the BBC2 chat show Friday Night, Saturday Morning. Initially, the Python's are reluctant to take part but it decided that John Cleese and Michael Palin should represent the team on the programme, Palin is depicted as a tortured individual whose wife bears a remarkable resemblance to Terry Jones (Rufus Jones plays both parts),[1] and Cleese is apparently indistinguishable from Basil Fawlty, his best known role. The production team of the BBC chat show eventually manage to gain a commitment from Malcolm Muggeridge and Mervyn Stockwood, the then Bishop of Southwark, to oppose the two Pythons. Portions of this televised discussion are recreated towards the end of the film.



The film received mixed reviews from critics, while receiving just over half a million viewers on BBC Four and proving a very popular watch on iPlayer. Most praised the casting of the Pythons, predominantly for Palin and Cleese. HFC gained approval from Palin and Terry Jones, but John Cleese says he "Absolutely detested" the show, in particular Boyd's portrayal of him. Terry Gilliam commented on the fact that Cleese didn't like it, and reasoned that the Pythons would have no reason to complain about somebody "taking the piss" out of them when they'd been doing it to others for years.



  1. ^ Rufus Jones "Holy Flying Circus: Making a drama of Monty Python", BBC tv blog, 19 October 2011

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.