U.K's Gold Channel to Live Broadcast Monty Python's Final Stage Show
LONDON—U.K. comedy channel Gold, part of the UKTV network owned and operated by BBC Worldwide and Scripps Networks International, has inked a deal to broadcast the last performance of the Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down Five to Go stage show directly from London's O2 arena on July 20.
The ground-breaking event will begin with a live back stage program produced by Phil McIntyre Television and will culminate with the Python’s stage show produced by Hipgnosis. The show will be carried live by the channel for up to three hours on the night.
UKTV director of commissioning Richard Watsham described the move to host the live broadcast as "a huge step in Gold's evolution to be part of such a significant national event and to be broadcasting it live so that everyone can be there."
Watsham said Monty Python is "arguably the most influential comedy group the country has ever known, and it's a matter of great pride that they've trusted us with celebrating their very last night together."
Eric Idle, on behalf of the Pythons said: "What could be finer at the end of a long life in comedy than a chance to reunite with old pals and say goodbye to all our fans in one final mad musical show. We are very excited that not only do we get the chance to screw up on stage, we get a chance to screw up live on TV too."
Monty Python Live (Mostly) sees the five remaining comedy troupe members—Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin and Terry Jones—reunited on stage for the first time in the U.K. in over 40 years, for ten nights of shows in July.
Gold has also announced a special five-part series, due to air later in the year, to provide the ultimate Monty Python season.
The as yet untitled series, also produced by Phil McIntyre Television in association with Python (Monty) Pictures, will celebrate the nation's favorite Monty Python's Flying Circus sketches and the effect that they have had on the comedy world. It will include the very best footage from their TV programs and insights from some of the biggest names in comedy on the influence of the Pythons.
The live broadcast on Gold on July 20 is the first time in UKTV's 21-year history that an event of this scale will be aired live on the channel.