Monty Python’s Flying Circus
From memory, I watched Fawlty Towers before Monty Python when I was a child but that was probably more to do with (and this may shock those who also grew up in the UK) there being a time that the BBC didn’t do too many repeats. However, when they did appear on BBC2 and I was able to catch an episode (I wasn’t blocked from watching, it was just that there may have been a clash with Upstairs Downstairs or my bedtime or some such) it was just marvellous. Having been experienced with the steady comedic arms of Morecombe and Wise, Dad’s Army and the like this was like a shot of adrenalin to a happily ticking heart (forgive my lack of medical knowledge for potentially killing myself in search of a cliched simile) and for someone of my early years it was like an epiphany. Comedy could be anarchic, off the wall but perhaps most of all, it could take risks; sometimes the gags wouldn’t work but that was fine, and most of the time the performers could laugh as part of the sketch and that was fine.
The TV show was such a favourite that the cobbled together anthology of skits for launch in the US “And Now For Something Completeley Different” is for me by far the best of the movie offerings from the troupe. Classics such as How Not To Be Seen, The Hungarian Phrasebook and Marriage Guidance Councillor are polished up and presented in widescreen loveliness, and while some others like Bicycle Repairman are sadly missed, its understandable with so many quality sketches in their portfolio.