Release: Dec 07, 2019 - Author: Muck47 - Translator: Muck47 - external link: IMDB - more from this series
Comparison between the censored European DVDs by Sony (already a bit longer compared to the American DVD by A&E Home Entertainment) and the uncut British Blu-ray by Network on Air
- 2 deviations
- Difference: 130,8 sec (= 2:11 min)
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 3x12 compared here (A Book at Bedtime) was already extended on the Sony DVD compared to the old US DVD by a longer segment at the end of the episode. Not surprisingly, this is also included here again, but on top of that there is a completely new sketch at the beginning of the episode. In more than two minutes John Cleese can perform some Silly Walks moves again in the "Party Political Broadcast of the Conservative and Unionist Party". The picture quality is a bit worse here, yet of course a little sensation. The total duration of the episode is still a bit shorter than average with just 29 minutes, but at least it seems to be almost completely restored now.
1) In episode 3x10 (E Henry Thripshaw's Disease) the three sketches Big Nosed Sculptor, Revolting Cocktails and Wee-Wee Wine Cellar were allegedly censored by the BBFC, but unfortunately no additional material was found. At least Terry Gilliam's "Gay Boys in Bondage"-animation was included in the bonus material, which we documented here in the appendix.
2) For the present episode 3x12 you can also find a shorter intro sequence without the new sketch as a bonus. Curiously enough, it was still a bit longer than what you saw on both old DVD releases. We've also included more details about this in the appendix.
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Sony DVDs / British Blu-ray
In this episode on Blu-ray there is only an alternative film board to start with, shorter than usual and in SD quality.
00:00 / 00:10-02:21
While the old DVDs started with the opening credits, the Blu-ray shows a longer sketch first: The "Party Political Broadcast of the Conservative and Unionist Party".
After a corresponding text and off-comment ("There now follows a party political broadcast on behalf of the conservative and unionist party.") you see John Cleese reciting a little speech. In the middle of it he stands up and takes a few typical Silly Walks steps through the room.
Cleese: "Good evening. Figures talk. We have already fulfilled over three of our election pledges, before the end of our second year of good Conservative rule. And, what is more. We hope that, that in the Autumn we shall introduce a legislation in the house, bend and kick all of those in lower income groups. And further more we--"
Eric Idle joins in and interrupts, correcting the dancing steps; "No no no no, look love. It's and, one and two and three and four, and five and six and seven and down. Seven and down."
Cleese: "It's so much harder with the words."
Idle: "Well, don't think of them, just count four in your head."
Cleese: "And... One and third and two and thre--"
Idle: "Come and do it with me, come on. And. Furthermore we hope that we can stop the rising unemployment. And point at employment with your finger."
Cleese: "I can do it when you're here."
Idle: "I won't be far away. Alright, love, we're going from unemployment through pensions into good government is strong government and the walk down, alright? And cue, love."
Cleese: "And furthermore we hope that we can can stop the rising unemployment, at a stroke or even quicker."
Four dancing men join the scene singing.
Idle: "And that's where we get the bunting and the ticker tape Chris, alright? Big smiles everybody, remember you're Cabinet Ministers. And relax."
The camera pans to the side and you can see how the competitors warm up in the back.; "We in the Labour party have always made our positions quite clear. We will always be opposed to all forms--"
After the pan to a door you see a short animation by Gilliam, in which politicians can be seen - their lower bodys are those of ballet dancers.
Then as usual Cleese at his table; "And now."
130,8 sec (= 2:11 min)
24:42-24:44 / 27:03-27:05
After the first slip of the tongue over the BBC fade in, the old DVD briefly fades in and fades out again. The Blu-ray stays with the BBC fade-in throughout.
No time deviation
The bonus material also includes a shorter intro sequence without the new sketch on the Blu-ray. However, this is not exactly the same as the old DVDs. While the opening credits start there immediately, you can also see the short shots of Jones, Cleese ("And now...") and Palin ("It's). Beyond that you can also see the obligatory folding panel (identical to the screenshot shown at the beginning) and above all three short text insertions, which allude to the missing intro sketch.
As already mentioned in the intro: For 3x10 (E Henry Thripshaw's Disease) you can see Terry Gilliam's "Gay Boys in Bondage" animation as a bonus. At 11:48 in the episode it simply skips onto a hole in the ground and the scene basically ends.
Actually, from the right two men come into the picture and copulate wildly on the floor. A naked policeman comes running on rollerblades, says "All right, that's it, show's over!" and grabs both of them. He drives them away to the side to the hole in the ground and throws them in. Only when we drive towards the hole does this bonus segment run synchronously to how it is shown in the episode itself .