(In)Complete and Utter History of Britain
didnt have to be completely
crazy to admire Monty Python humour
during the Sixties and Seventies, but
it helped so revel in the zaniness
and oddball characters as history gets
sent up in the 1969 series revisited
with The New (In)Complete and Utter
History of Britain...
OFF THE WALL IT MAY BE, but Monty Python has a history all of its own
for wackiness with the success of Monty Python's Flying Circus and such
films as The Holy Grail and Life of Brian.
Reviewing The New (In)Complete and Utter History of Britain, the humour
is typical of the period. What rocked us back in the Sixties and Seventies may
not to some be quite so funny now. But the series
is irresistible, for the witty tongue-in-cheek send-up of historic events and
figures as much as for its nostalgia.
comedy legends Michael Palin and Terry Jones at the helm they
wrote the original series and starred in it The New (In)Complete
and Utter History of Britain takes on a life of its own; a chaotic view
of kings and queens, outlaws and heroes, beginning in the "raw and savage land"
of early England in 2564BC.
(In)Complete and Utter
History Of Britain
is irresistible, for the
send-up of historic
events and figures as
much as for its
nostalgia It could only
be Monty Python!
In a typically-skewed view of English history, an early estate agent tries to
sell a young couple Stonehenge; see face-to-face interviews with King Alfred
and the 'waterproof' King Canute; the new game of Serf-Riding; illegal immigrants
in Pevensey Bay; King John being tricked into signing the Magna Carta; a 12th
Century Pest Control Officer; and an Olde English advertisement for water.
Moving through the centuries we see a different side to the knights of old and
Robin Hood, who is sold to us as a 'social worker' who asks the rich to contribute
to a fund for the underprivileged; Geoffrey Chaucer's film of 'Courtly Love';
a Heroes in History Competition with Boadicea and Julius Caesar; a window on
the life of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn; and terrifying, garlic-breathing Frenchmen
on bicycles. It could only be Monty Python!
Reporting events as if television had been around at the time, we are treated
to a fascinating character called Professor Weaver (Roddy Maude-Roxby), who
regales us with tales of Robert The Bruce and the spider; early 'Pathe News'
items and the first newsreader (Michael Palin). Great fun and tomfoolery.
The New (In)Complete And utter History Of Britain includes the two surviving
episodes from 1969 for the first time in any format and new, never-seen-before
50 minutes of footage recorded by Michael Palin and Terry Jones to link the
best of the existing material into a completely new feature. It also includes
previously unseen series footage from Terry Jones' personal archives.
A notable influence on television comedy, the original series fed directly into
the content of Monty Python's Flying Circus and it is available now for
those who lived through the Sixties to reminisce and for a new generation to
enjoy on home entertainment, revisited by Michael Palin and Terry Jones in 2013.
The New (In)Complete and Utter History Of Britain features: Michael Palin;
Terry Jones; Wallas Eaton; Diana Quick; Melinda May; Ted Carson; John Hughman;
and Johnny Vyvyan. And it is narrated by Colin Gordon.
The Series Signature Tune is by Barry Booth; Series Writer is Terry Jones; Series
Producer is Humphrey Barclay; and Series Director is Maurice Murphy.
New (In)Complete and Utter History Of Britain is released on DVD by Network
Distributing on 7 April 2014. Discs: 2 | Running Time: 150 Minutes Approximately
| Black and White | Catalogue Number: 7953814 | RRP: £19.99.
The Set Includes: 50-minute feature containing new linking material by Michael
Palin and Terry Jones | Interview with producer Humphrey Barclay | The first
two episodes as transmitted (the only ones still existing) | The first two episodes
as recorded (includes some different sketches to those transmitted) | All existing
film insert material used throughout the series, in Terry Jones' collection
for over 40 years | Brand new booklet by archive television historian Andrew
Pixley | Extensive image gallery | Script and Production Paperwork PDFs.
"The New (In)Complete and Utter History Of Britain is irresistible, for
the witty tongue-in-cheek send-up of historic events and figures as much as
for its nostalgia… It could only be Monty Python!"