The New Incomplete Complete and Utter History of Britain : Review

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Although Monty Python have not done anything on film for many years, there is still a growing cult following around them and its easy to see why when the comedy they did still stands up very well today. Screened in January 1969, just nine months before the debut of the groundbreaking Monty Python’s Flying Circus and never aired nationally (being produced by and screened only in the London Weekend Television region), The Complete and Utter History of Britain is a curious forerunner of the famous BBC show, it has a standard sketch format and a clever premise, it is a surreal and sometimes very funny show with a skewered look at British history.

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Only two episodes of the series exist – six episodes were broadcast (seven were recorded but LWT demanded that the first two were amalgamated into one episode because they thought they weren’t funny enough). Like a lot of the Python series, a lot of the sketches are hit and miss, some very funny, some flat, but this is always the case with sketch comedy shows. Both Michael Palin and Terry Jones have filmed new introductory linking sections but its a great shame that the rest of the episodes are lost. Thankfully Terry Jones kept a lot of the 35mm filmed sketches for over 40 years and these are included also. The two episodes and the filmed inserts have been cleaned up especially for this release. Also the two episodes are shown “as recorded” which means 50% of this material was never originally broadcast.  A fun release and a must for any true Python fan.

 

THIS SET INCLUDES:

  •  50-minute feature containing new linking material by Palin and Jones
  • Interview with producer Humphrey Barclay
  • The first two episodes as transmitted (the only ones still to exist)
  • The first two episodes as recorded (includes un-transmitted sketches)
  • All existing film insert material
  • Brand-new booklet by archive television historian Andrew Pixley
  • Extensive image gallery
  • Script and production paperwork PDFs

SERIES : 6 PICTURE: 7 SOUND: 6 EXTRAS: 7

The two episodes and Terry’s film inserts have been newly transferred and cleaned up especially for this DVD release. – See more at: http://networkonair.com/features/2013/04/05/incomplete-history-according-to-palin-and-jones/#sthash.Gz0mjnv1.dpu