Classic BBC Talk Show Panel on Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”

March 27, 2012 — 13 Comments

Monty Python’s Life of Brian, the classic satire of religion and Christianity, was a very controversial film upon release. There was a question of whether it was okay to lampoon religion, and I think any reasonable person would say that the Python boys came out on the right side of that particular debate.

The BBC talk show series, Friday Night, Saturday Morning, did a show at the time of release featuring Michael Palin and John Cleese defending the film from attacks by Malcolm Muggeridge and Bishop Mervyn Stockwood. It’s truly one of the great episodes of television.

What’s amazing about the episode is seeing the Python members having to defend their right to openly question ideas. The two Christian men are so concerned with their own personal beliefs being offended that they deny the value of open, critical thinking. The Bishop is too perturbed by the sight of men on the cross being taken lightly as an affront to Jesus to realize that the image in the film is actually used by the film to inspire positivity in life even in the face of death.

There’s no question that Life of Brian pokes, but it pokes in areas worth poking. Even if somebody watched the film and remains religion, it might at least get them to consider the way they think about new and old ideas. Certainly thinking is not a bad thing.

UPDATE: I also found this hilarious sketch from the BBC sketch show, Not the Nine O’Clock News, which parodies the Life of Brian debate. Apparently a film was made about a man named Jesus Christ, who’s clearly just a stand-in for blaspheming against the great and holy Monty Python. Check it out:

13 responses to Classic BBC Talk Show Panel on Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”


    Saw this interview a few years back. I loved that Michael Palin and John Cleese wiped the floor with them.


    Great post. Have you seen the BBC miniseries, Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyers Cut)? It’s great hearing the Pythons – and Palin and Cleese in particular – talk about being on Friday Night, Saturday Morning as well as talk about the more general reactions in Britain and the U.S. to Life of Brian.


      I’ve seen parts of that documentary from when it aired on TV. I did catch the stuff about Life of Brian, plus I’d seen them talk about it on the Life of Brian Blu-ray. The reaction to that film was pretty insane.


    It’s sad because Malcolm M is often smart about religion. You can’t tell that here. I wish the religious would learn that their religion doesn’t need protecting. If it’s true, it’ll stand on its own. And not being overly critical allows one to see the difference between appropriate satire and offensive mockery.


    Reblogged this on Ralphie´s Portal and commented:
    Always was my favourite!


    Nick waas sitting head down, bare chest, with his arms handcuffed behnd him
    at the end of the driveway on the edge of the lawn.

    Motor racing is certainly the “ultimate rich boy’s sport”.
    This is typical of positions that have a lot of flaws in pawn
    structure, whiich is why you should avoid having these weaknesses in your own games.

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