TV: Holy Flying Circus


When: UKTV, December 16 at 8.30pm

Details: visit

It’s God versus Python in this inventive docudrama, which details the furore sparked by the release of Monty Python’s Life of Brian. When furious Christians protest outside the American premiere, the comedy troupe is divided about how to tackle its UK release. 

Will the film, as religious leaders suggest, inspire violence? Will young viewers, as Cleese suggests, commence copycat crucifixions? As society turns on the Pythons, they begin to turn on each other, leaving them in no fit state to defend their film in an infamous television debate.

The real thrust of the drama revolves around the tense friendship between neurotic John Cleese (Darren Boyd) and sensitive Michael Palin (Charles Edwards). They can barely agree on what their film means, let alone how to defend it.

Happily, the film manages to capture much of the wit and irreverence of its subject. Instead of being a straight drama, this is a wilfully skewed comedy that messes with the details while leaving the facts intact. 

The cast do a superb job of breaching the gap between the humans and their public personas. Cheeky, controversial and surprisingly poignant, this a reminder that some things are too important to be taken seriously.

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