Release: Dec 03, 2019 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB - more from this series
Comparison between the censored European DVDs by Sony (identical to the American DVD by A&E Home Entertainment) and the uncut British Blu-ray by Network on Air
- 1 altered scene
- No time difference
Censorship on MONTY PYTHON'S FLYING CIRCUS
A few years before the Pythons became immortal with their movies, they rose to fame on British television with Monty Python's Flying Circus. The British original series ran for 4 seasons, while the first three still had 13 episodes each and the final one without John Cleese only had 6 episodes.
After a first US DVD set by A&E Entertainment, Sony 2006 took on the series and released it on DVD in e.g. Great Britain and Germany. On some episodes this meant a clear added value compared to the American DVD release. In Episode 3x05 a well known censorship of the word "masturbate" was finally added in again and Episode 3x12 was even about two minutes longer than the first DVD edition. Nevertheless, among eager fans and thanks to recordings of early TV broadcasts and literature from the Pythons, further censorship and cuts are known. These have been added over the years, especially through syndicated airings in the 80s, but some were even done right after or during the first broadcast. A small summary can be found in the appendix of the two cut reports, in the Blu-ray.com thread e.g. here further examples were collected.
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the 1969 show some specials were now produced in Great Britain but the big surprise was the announcement of a Blu-ray premiere. Since 04. November 2019 it's now available in Great Britain and the US. We're now diving deeper into the promise that the episodes will not only be elaborately restored, but also "complete and uncut on Blu-ray for the first time". In a Q&A session under their own Facebook post Network on Air wrote "the episodes have been restored to the original UK broadcast length". Shortly before the release, the listing of all special features also showed in more detail which episodes can be expected to contain new material.
The differences in season 3
Now that we have compared all 13 episodes of the 3rd season in the old Sony DVD version with the new Network Blu-ray, we can state that this third season for deviations within of the episodes again the specification of "Reinstated content" in the special features doesn't fully cover it. Still, to a large extent, differences are only really noticeable here. Each episode is otherwise almost frame-accurate and the promised "Extended..."-material for 3x01 (Whicker's World) and 3x04 (Blood, Devastation, Death, War and Horror), 3x10 (E. Henry Thripshaw's Disease), 3x11 (Dennis Moore), 3x12 (A Book at Bedtime) and 3x13 (Grandstand) can only be found individually as a bonus.
In the 9th minute of episode 3x01 (Whicker's World) you can see a text board in yellow on a black background instead of white on a blue background. On 3x10 (E. Henry Thripshaw's Disease) the text "Syria 1203" is missing in the 23rd minute (but shown already 1,5 minutes before in both versions). In episode 3x13 (Grandstand) the film board is shown twice at the beginning, probably because something went wrong in the studio. Only this explains the runtime of this episode compared to the Sony-DVD (over 2 minutes longer).
There is still one general peculiarity throughout the whole box set. At the beginning of each episode there is a roughly 30-second recording from the TV studio of that time. Here a countdown for the studio audience runs down and occasionally some nice comments from the Pythons can be heard in the background. By default the Blu-ray jumps directly to chapter 2 right afterwards, but this is part of each video stream and explains the longer runtime.
The episode 3x07 compared here (Salad Days) is another unexpected case. On the one hand "reinstated content" is promised, but this is nothing new for owners of Sony DVDs. An unimportant jumpcut at the beginning was missing on the old US-DVD from A&E and according to statement from Paul Vanezis, who was involved in the production of the network set, this is also the only deviation. Since this was already "repaired" on the Sony DVD, there would not have been another cut report - if there hadn't been a short moment with alternative material a few minutes later. Both the Sony DVDs and the older US DVD show a shot inside longer than the Network Blu-ray. But the follow-up shout out there starts correspondingly earlier in HD now. Weird stuff.
1) The "Bus Conductor Extended Scene" in the bonus material for 3x04 (Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror) is still quite interesting. Graham Chapman sings the song "Tonight" from West Side Story for a short moment. Maybe this had to be removed in the final episode due to rights problems. The own interpretation of the song by Chapman, who was known for having a drink on a regular basis, may have the rest. This short passage is once again only available in worse SD quality and illustrated in the appendix of this cut report.
2) The "reinstated content" at Episode 3x05 (The All-England Summarize Proust Competiton) consists only of the masturbation line, which was already inserted in the Sony-DVD compared to the old US-DVD. We have already documented details in the corresponding cut report. A bit of a pity, because another censorship is known about this episode and is therefore still missing. Eric Idle always says "B" instead of the letter "C" and in this way takes a very bad insult word in his mouth. Vanezis has also commented on this:
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Sony DVDs / British Blu-ray
The film board in the beginning comes with a different style in this episode. But it's just the beep and many numbers of the countdown, nothing else of relevance to be found here.
07:38-07:41 / 08:09-08:13
On the old DVDs the inside shot is longer and Palin goes to the door here.
But therefore the following outdoor shot starts earlier on the Blu-ray. Here the door is still closed at the beginning and is then opened. The DVD only starts when it is already half open and Palin looks out.
In the 1st minute only the US-DVD of A&E was missing a short moment in the "Biggles dictates a letter"-Sketch. Directly after the first sentence of the secretary, in which she addresses Biggles with "Senor", there was a picture and sound jumpcut. Biggles' words "I'm not a Spanish person! You must call me Mr. Bigg..." (3 sec) were swallowed here. But this was also completely reconstructed on the Sony DVD and is therefore not that special on the Network release.
And here's the other cut mentioned in the intro, present in all releases of episode 3x04 (Blood, Devastation, Death, War, and Horror). About 30 seconds before the end of the sketch Graham Chapman says "They're rolling here tonight". In the only individually selectable version in the bonus material the footage quality changes directly after this to a worse source and he tunes the song "Tonight" from West Side Story.
Chapman sings slightly different lyrics here: "Tonight, tonight, I'm getting pissed tonight!"