Release: Nov 26, 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 scene with altered soundtrack
- 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 2
Now that we have compared all 13 episodes of the 2nd season in the old Sony DVD version with the new Network Blu-ray, we can state that this second season for deviations within of the episodes can no longer rely 100% on the specification of "Reinstated content" in the special features. But most of the time there have been real differences only here. Each episode is otherwise almost identical by the frame and the "Extended & unused film material" promised for 2x04 (The Buzz Aldrin Show) and 2x10 (Scott of the Antarctic) can only be found individually as a bonus. Especially with Gilliam's animations, however, the Blu-ray now shows consistently stronger colors and a larger image framing. So quality-wise it can be recommended.
But 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 2x09 compared here (How To Recognise Different Parts Of The Body) has been censored only on the soundtrack, as it was on 2x06 as well. This time, however, it was over a whole scene, because the moaning sounds still to be heard in the original (as implied masturbation) were completely deleted and replaced by music in the more widespread DVD version. On Blu-ray you can hear the uncensored original sound again. BTW: This sketch was re-done for the movie And Now for Something Completely Different. As with the "cancer" line of the animation in episode 2x06 you could heard it in an uncensored form (with moaning) there.
On top of that, the version with music is still on board as an alternative in its censored form. The sketch can be selected individually on Disc 2 of the season in the bonus section with the familiar old soundtrack.
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Sony DVDs / British Blu-ray
In this sequence, the video board is shown particularly long at the beginning. The speaker says that you are often quite relaxed before the recording, or that there is a bit of joking around - and you might press the wrong button at the wrong time.
The one minute immediately afterwards up until the the opening credits is a tracking shot showing several half-naked girls. At the end John Cleese appears in women's underwear. On the old DVDs there was only seductive music during this scene. With the new Blu-ray you can only hear the moaning of a man instead. Judging from the chopped off sounds it seems that he is masturbating. In addition, the audience laughs several times and the man then suddenly stops his moaning at the sight of Cleese. Here the censored old DVD version also changes to the regular soundtrack.
In the 21st/22nd minute, Graham Chapman hums a song during the "Exploding Penguin" sketch when John Cleese turns off the TV. On Blu-ray, you hear the song "The girl from Ipanema", just like on the Sony DVD. That's obviously how it should be, but on the US-DVD by A&E you weirdly heard him hum "Jeanie with the light brown hair" instead - although the subtitles also mention the Ipanema song.