The Monty Python's Flying Circus reference article from the English Wikipedia on 24-Jul-2004
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Monty Python's Flying Circus

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Monty Python's Flying Circus was the hit BBC sketch comedy show from Monty Python.

The first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus was recorded September 7, 1969, and broadcast on October 5 of the same year.

The shows often targeted the idiosyncracies of British life (especially professionals), and was at times politically charged. The members of Monty Python were highly educated (Oxford and Cambridge graduates), and their comedy was often pointedly intellectual with numerous references to philosophers and literary figures.

In contrast to many other sketch comedy shows (such as Saturday Night Live), Flying Circus featured only handful of recurring characters, including:

The theme tune was John Philip Sousa's Liberty Bell March.

Regular supporting cast members include Carol Cleveland, Connie Booth, Neil Innes and The Fred Tomlinson Singers (for musical numbers).

The troupe's most well-known skits include:

Most of these skits appear in the first two series. Their fame is largely due to their inclusion in the feature film And Now For Something Completely Different, which was recorded between series 2 and 3. A further reason could be that when the show is re-broadcast it is often cancelled before the later series are shown.

John Cleese left the group after the third series, so did not appear in the final six episodes that made up series four, although he did receive writing credits where applicable. Neil Innes and Douglas Adams are notable as the only two non-Pythons to get writing credits in the show - both in the same episode late in season four. Innes frequently appeared in the Pythons' stage shows and can also be seen in Monty Python and the Holy Grail and (briefly) in Life of Brian.

The final episode was recorded November 16, 1974, and broadcast on December 5. That same year, Devillier-Donegan Enterprises syndicated the series in the United States of America among PBS stations, and the show appeared for the first time in that country on the PBS station KERA in Dallas, Texas. It was an instant hit there, rapidly garnering an enormous loyal cult following nationwide that surprised even the Pythons themselves, who didn't believe that the humor was exportable without being tailored specifically for the North Americans. The discovery of this additional legion of fans would inspire the troupe to reunite to create the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, since they now knew they had a world-wide audience.

Two episodes were produced in German for WDR, West Deutscher Rundfunk -- the first, Monty Python in Deutschland was produced in 1971 and was performed in phonetic German, while the second, Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus (also known as Monty Python Blödeln Für Deutschland) was a dubbed version of a British show, produced in 1972 and was also transmitted by the BBC in October 1973.