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Monty Python’s Fliegender Zirkus, Episode 1

Alternative title
Monty Python in Deutschland
Synopsis
In the first episode of the Monty Python special (performed in phonetic German), a documentary about Albrecht Dürer is interrupted by a condensed performance of The Merchant of Venice, starring ‘The Bad Ischl Dairy Herd’. The film footage depicts a herd of cows; surtitles in English and German translate their mooing into lines from Shakespeare’s play. Later in the programme, a theatre critic (Eric Idle) favourably comments on this interpretation which, he suggests, "has always been a difficult play for animals". This is followed by "The Doctor’s Version of The Merchant of Venice’", presented by Dracula and acted by two doctors.
Series
Monty Python’s Flying Circus
Language
German (Standard)
Country
Germany
Medium
Television
Technical information
Colour / Sound
Transmission details
3 Jan 1972 at 21:00 (Channel: ARD)
Duration
45 mins

Credits

Director
Ian MacNaughton
Producer
Thomas Woitkewitsch
Cast
Eric Idle 
Graham Chapman 
John Cleese 
Michael Palin 
Terry Gilliam 
Terry Jones 

Additional Details

Production type
Sitcoms/Variety
Plays
Merchant of Venice, The
Subjects
Drama
Keywords
animals; Shakespeare, William (1564-1616)

Notes

Notes
Both episodes of the German Monty Python special were released on a single VHS tape by Guerilla Films in 1998 but this seems to be currently out of stock (1/2007). Equally mysterious are the whereabouts of the DVD, allegedly released in 2002 by the Australian DVD company Rainbow Entertainment (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monty_Python’s_Fliegender_Zirkus#Episode_1_.28produced_in_1971.29)
General
Other Python episodes, too brief to catalogue individually, are a sketch entitled SHAKESPEARE in the episode ARCHEOLOGY TODAY (tx 17 November 1970 ) in which Shakespeare, washing up at the sink, gives Beethoven tips on how to compose the Fifth Symphony. He dismisses the name David as a suitable title for his play (preferring the name Hamlet as suggested by Beethoven). Shakespeare tells Michelangelo that he can have the name. HAMLET (tx 21 November 1974) follows some of the action and characters of the play - Terry Jones plays Hamlet. In THE SPANISH INQUISITION (tx 22 September 1970) there is a sketch JULIUS CAESAR WITH AN ALDIS LAMP.
History
One of two Monty Python shows commissioned by the West German broadcasting station WDR. The first episode was shot on film on location in Bavaria in 1971.
Textual information
A full transcript of this episode is available at: http://orangecow.org/pythonet/zirkus/zirkus-1.html
Reviews
'Monty Python’s Flying Circus’, in Mark Lewisohn, Radio Times Guide to TV Comedy (London: BBC Worldwide, 1998), 449-451.

Production Company

Name

Bavaria Atelier GmbH

Sponsor

Name

Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Archive

Name

BFI National Archive

Web
http://www.bfi.org.uk/archive-collections/searching-access-collections/research-viewing-services External site opens in new window
Phone
020 7255 1444
Fax
020 7436 0165
Address
21 Stephen Street
London
W1T 1LN

Distributor (Sale)

Name

Guerilla Films Limited

Contact
info@guerilla-films.com
Email
info@guerilla-films.com
Web
http://www.guerilla-films.com External site opens in new window
Phone
+ 44 (0)20 8758 1716
Fax
+ 44 (0)20 8758 9364
Address
35 Thornbury Road
Isleworth
TW7 4LQ
United Kingdom

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