Release: Nov 22, 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 cut
- 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 2x05 compared here (Live From The Grill-o-mat) is the exception in the season, because although not mentioned in the special features somehow, there is a mini-difference to the old versions to discover. The short moment during an animation isn't really exciting and above all there shouldn't be any censorship background behind it. In any case, for whatever reason the old master missing a small part of the animation and the Blu-ray now shows it again as Gilliam intended.
In three upcoming further cut reports to the episodes 6, 9 and 11 a few more exciting scores are documented. In the concluding episode 2x13 (Royal Episode 13) there is again a mini-deviation at a fade in at the beginning. We have added this unspectacular moment here in the appendix for the sake of simplicity.
Run time specifications are arranged according to the following scheme
Sony DVDs / British Blu-ray
Like most episodes, the Blu-ray stream starts with the clapper board that was shown in the studio before the show started. There is nothing special to be heard apart from the rumbling in the studio.
19:22-19:23 / 19:53-19:54
In the animation with Neddy and Teddy every second different things appear, which are suddenly mounted on their heads. The second object, which can be seen for a little more than a second, was missing from the Sony DVD master for some reason. A kind of flower can now be seen on Blu-ray again on the head of the figure.
The old A&E DVD from the USA shows this flower only at the end very briefly for 2 frames - so at least more than on the Sony DVD, but also only very briefly in comparison to the Blu-ray.
no time difference
As mentioned in the intro, here is the mini-deviation in episode 2x13 (Royal Episode 13): At 01:30-01:35 / 02:00-02:05 a text runs through below, according to which the Queen is not watching the program yet. On Blu-ray this text slips down a bit while running through, whereas on the old DVD it still ran through in a rather straight line.