Monty Python’s Flying Circus Restored for Blu Ray

3 Stars

This just in:
http://www.montypython.com/news_mp50announce/494?fbclid=IwAR2Kcng3dT3eOYFRghifq_3e_h0paqgdm1KxvgYe_l2cGijdvOvTC1xALy0

Network Distributing will release all 45 episodes of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”, on Blu-ray and DVD, fully restored for the first time ever. Each episode has been painstakingly restored using the original video and film elements exclusively for this release. All four series, along with unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more, will be presented in an exclusive 50th anniversary limited-edition box set available exclusively here from 29th July, with all four individual series available to purchase separately at a later date.

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Kevin Collins

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129 Comments

  1. Coressel

    This just in:
    http://www.montypython.com/news_mp5…FRghifq_3e_h0paqgdm1KxvgYe_l2cGijdvOvTC1xALy0

    Network Distributing will release all 45 episodes of "Monty Python’s Flying Circus", on Blu-ray and DVD, fully restored for the first time ever. Each episode has been painstakingly restored using the original video and film elements exclusively for this release. All four series, along with unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more, will be presented in an exclusive 50th anniversary limited-edition box set available exclusively here from 29th July, with all four individual series available to purchase separately at a later date.

    There trying to put me in the poor house. I will be in on this one

  2. StarDestroyer52

    There trying to put me in the poor house. I will be in on this one

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

  3. I'll wait for the eventual US release from whoever owns the home video rights to Python.

    As for "painstakingly restored", that better mean the Pythons have employed all the recent tech the BBC has developed to resuscitate their early 70s catalog to make the show as close to original broadcast quality as possible.

  4. David Norman

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

    Lord Dalek

    I'll wait for the eventual US release from whoever owns the home video rights to Python.

    As for "painstakingly restored", that better mean the Pythons have employed all the recent tech the BBC has developed to resuscitate their early 70s catalog to make the show as close to original broadcast quality as possible.

    It'll either be A&E or Shout Factory for the inevitable North American release.

  5. "I Love Lucy" was that only American T.V. series I ever wanted to own in its entirety.
    But when it comes to the only British T.V. series I ever wanted to own in its entirety;
    it's Monty, it's Python, it's Flying and it's Circus.
    Now I am complete.:)

  6. Lord Dalek

    Isn't A&E Home Video mostly defunct outside of History Channel content at this point?

    The last time I purchased a A&E home video dvd was over 10 years ago. Time for something different like the Shout Factory.

  7. Lord Dalek

    Remember you're brickwalled by 720×576 which is better than NTSC but still far from genuine HD or 720i for that matter.

    While that's true, I do have to say that the Classic Doctor Who episodes I've seen on Blu-ray do look quite nice, taking into consideration the limitations of the source material. Does the BBC even have the original tapes for Python? I wonder, since they were so keen on erasing tapes around the time it was originally shot. If they have the 16mm segments, those could look quite nice, but if all they have for the video material are dupes, I don't know that there's much that can be done to make them look any better than the DVD's.

    Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy also looks nice on Blu-ray, but only if your expectations are reasonable. It looks like extremely stable video, with good compression and color information. Better than the previous DVD release, but nothing resembling true HD material. It's kind of like movies finished at 2K and then upscaled to UHD. The strengths of the UHD format offer some visual benefit over BD, but nothing that is going to knock your socks off when comparing the two formats.

    EDIT: So, it looks like, at the time Python was shot, they were likely using tape with 625 lines of resolution. If they have original material, it could look quite nice on Blu-ray, compared to DVD.

    ANOTHER EDIT: (This post is beginning to read like a Python sketch.) According to this article, the BBC was all set to erase the tapes of the first season. Terry Jones caught wind of it and he and the other Pythons smuggled the tapes out to make copies. The tapes didn't get wiped and, because of the sale of the show to PBS, they survived. Hopefully, they're still in usable shape. Doctor Who fans know the pain of wiped videotapes.

  8. Brian Kidd

    While that's true, I do have to say that the Classic Doctor Who episodes I've seen on Blu-ray do look quite nice, taking into consideration the limitations of the source material. Does the BBC even have the original tapes for Python? I wonder, since they were so keen on erasing tapes around the time it was originally shot. If they have the 16mm segments, those could look quite nice, but if all they have for the video material are dupes, I don't know that there's much that can be done to make them look any better than the DVD's.

    Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy also looks nice on Blu-ray, but only if your expectations are reasonable. It looks like extremely stable video, with good compression and color information. Better than the previous DVD release, but nothing resembling true HD material. It's kind of like movies finished at 2K and then upscaled to UHD. The strengths of the UHD format offer some visual benefit over BD, but nothing that is going to knock your socks off when comparing the two formats.

    EDIT: So, it looks like, at the time Python was shot, they were likely using tape with 625 lines of resolution. If they have original material, it could look quite nice on Blu-ray, compared to DVD.

    The equivalent is 576i, as 625 includes the vertical blanking interval, in the same way that NTSC was 525 lines, but only 480 usable lines because of the VBI.

  9. Well, still better than NTSC DVD resolution, so I guess we'll be able to see all of the image information that is available, small improvement though it be. 🙂 I just hate to find out how much they're going to charge for it. BBC shows on U.S. home video = :emoji_heavy_dollar_sign::emoji_heavy_dollar_sign::emoji_heavy_dollar_sign:

  10. Stephen_J_H

    It'll either be A&E or Shout Factory for the inevitable North American release.

    Which will probably happen 2 years from now based on how long it took for Space 1999 and several other titles. But still no Avengers Seasons 4 or 6 in the US so maybe longer than 2 years

  11. David Norman

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

    Egads. I’ll wait either for the Shout release or hopefully Network release these individually. Are shows like The Saint, The Prisoner, and The Professionals with Network or are those ITV?

  12. StarDestroyer52

    Egads. I’ll wait either for the Shout release or hopefully Network release these individually. Are shows like The Saint, The Prisoner, and The Professionals with Network or are those ITV?

    IIRC Network is owned by ITV PLC.

  13. atcolomb

    It's about time! Have the 16 Ton box set but that was released in 2005.

    Also, it had some unfortunate edits. I sold it long ago and got the UK set from Sony about 10 years ago. Hopefully, this Network set will prove definitive.

  14. StarDestroyer52

    There trying to put me in the poor house. I will be in on this one

    David Norman

    If it's sold by Network and you are in the US, you ain;t kidding. Whatever the actual price of the set, Network shipping is based on weight and it's extremely likely this will move the package into the Expedited only Shipping level — to the US £40 flat rate. Now if you have 20 other things to order, this isn't actually too bad and it will arrive in 2-3 days, but for a single item, it's painful

    It’s true that above a certain weight, Network’s shipping charges take a steep hike. I recall facing this with their UFO Complete series that came with a hefty 600 page book.

    Happily, there were some workable options. Amazon UK and Zavvi.com both carried the product at a higher unit price than Network itself, but at a fraction of the shipping charges. A little while later, Network also issued a version without the book at a much cheaper unit price and a vastly cheaper shipping charge, as it didn’t breach the weight threshold.

    You might not necessarily end up in the poor house, but you may need to skip a couple of meals.

  15. AndyMcKinney

    Also, it had some unfortunate edits. I sold it long ago and got the UK set from Sony about 10 years ago. Hopefully, this Network set will prove definitive.

    It will have the edits. Monty Python chose themselves to cut out Jesus on the telephone poles.

  16. bigshot

    It will have the edits. Monty Python chose themselves to cut out Jesus on the telephone poles.

    Are you sure about that? I just looked on the SOTTAA website, and it doesn't seem to be apparent who ordered the telephone pole cut. All that is know is that it was cut prior to transmission.

    Since the package is supposed to include All four series, along with unseen and excised footage, sketches and much more, I see no reason why this and other stuff that was cut prior to transmission (and for reruns/home video releases) won't be reinstated.

    The only reason I can see for any cuts remaining would be if music clearances cannot be obtained for the ones that were cut for music licencing reasons.

    At any rate, I'm sure this won't have some of the more ridiculous edits that were in the A&E set (such as the deleted line "masturbation" in the Summarise Proust sketch).

    At any rate, I'm sure this won't have some of the more ridiculous edits that were in the A&E set (such as the deleted line "masturbation" in the Summarise Proust sketch). Jonathan Wood is overseeing this (the same fellow who oversaw, among other things, Network's Space: 1999 Series One release. It will be as complete/definitive as possible.

  17. I think it was Terry Jones who mentioned it in an interview. They received mail on it and reconsidered it as a group. There's still a snippet of it in the fast forward version of the show at the end. I think the cut was made around the time of Life of Brian and they were getting flack. The cancer edit wasn't their choice. That was the BBC, and I think that one was done earlier. I might be wrong though. I'm working on decades old memories.

  18. I think the first 2 seasons you can only do so much. I remember hearing that S1 and S2 were to be overwritten and the tapes reused.

    Some quick googling turned up this

    There is, however, an alternate universe nightmare scenario that almost came to pass that would have diminished Monty Python’s legacy. In 1971, as the troupe was both preparing for a third season and working to produce a German-language comedy special (Monty Python’s Fliegander Zirkus), writer/performer Terry Jones got a call from someone at the BBC, letting him know that the tapes featuring the first season of their show were set to be erased and re-used.

    Understandably aghast, Jones and the Pythons quietly smuggled the original tapes out and made VHS copies, preserving their legacy and that of the hundreds of creatives informed by sketches like “The Lumberjack Song,” “Crunchy Frog” and “The Dead Parrot Sketch.” That’s right: the world came perilously close to never seeing John Cleese and Michael Palin go toe-to-toe over the purchase of a Norwegian blue who has ceased to be, is bereft of life, and has joined the choir invisible. Or as Jones put it in Mike Sacks’ book Poking a Dead Frog: Conversations with Today’s Top Comedy Writers:

    However, this notes that when sold to other markets, it was sent on 16mm

    Mostly, there wasn’t a mind toward preserving works like this for future historians or fans. If they thought they could re-sell an original program to a new market, they would often record them onto 16mm film and ship the tapes off to another network. This is how the BBC has been able to recover many of the lost Doctor Who episodes, as they’ve turned up in the archives of TV stations in Nigeria, New Zealand and Hong Kong. This is what wound up preserving Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the long run; the BBC was eventually able to sell broadcast rights to PBS, thereby bringing the show to a new audience and blowing the minds of comedy fans in the years before the first commercially produced VHS versions of the series were released.

    https://www.pastemagazine.com/artic…n-hero-who-saved-monthy-pythons-flying-c.html

  19. bigshot

    I think it was Terry Jones who mentioned it in an interview. They received mail on it and reconsidered it as a group. There's still a snippet of it in the fast forward version of the show at the end. I think the cut was made around the time of Life of Brian and they were getting flack. The cancer edit wasn't their choice. That was the BBC, and I think that one was done earlier. I might be wrong though. I'm working on decades old memories.

    dunno. I do recall that the whole bit in a third series episode in the funeral parlour ("surely, you're not suggesting we eat her") got a lot of complaints and (like a certain grisly scene in I Claudius) was actually erased from the master tape. That bit only ever got recovered from a NTSC North American syndication tape years later.

  20. Philip Verdieck

    I think the first 2 seasons you can only do so much. I remember hearing that S1 and S2 were to be overwritten and the tapes reused.

    I found this quote, from a 2001 Radio 4 interview with Terry Jones:

    "I'm very surprised that Python has lasted as long as this, partly because of the nature of the programmes, and more so because they were nearly wiped in the early seventies. We were tipped off by a friend in the archive department that they were about to wipe the first series of Python, and we, sort of, clandestinely smuggled the tapes out of the BBC and put them onto Phillips VCR cassettes, which was the only domestic video available at the time, and I had them in my cellar, and for a period of about six months we thought that was going to be the only record of our TV series left. And then what happened was, the BBC suddenly sold the shows in America and so they didn't wipe them, and we were saved by the bell, but it was a very close run thing."

    http://sotcaa.org/history/sotcaa2000/forum/forumarchive02/forum2289.html

    The VCR format in question:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Cassette_Recording

  21. AndyMcKinney

    dunno. I do recall that the whole bit in a third series episode in the funeral parlour ("surely, you're not suggesting we eat her") got a lot of complaints and (like a certain grisly scene in I Claudius) was actually erased from the master tape. That bit only ever got recovered from a NTSC North American syndication tape years later.

    That would be the Undertaker sketch from season 2 episode 13 Royal Episode 13 or The Queen Will Be Watching

  22. Coressel

    I asked Paul Vanezis about it on Twitter. Here's his response:
    https://twitter.com/PaulVanezis/status/1144505376777351168

    Larry:
    Saw your link above. The big hurdle for US viewers (even if the disc isn't region-locked) is that fact that all of the original film inserts will be 25fps, and the original VT will be PAL/50, so most likely, this will be a 1080i/50 release for the UK market. I'm sure most UK fans (and purists like myself with multi-system equipment who don't want any standards conversions going on) would not be happy if this release was slowed-down to 1080p/24, or converted to 1080i/60.

    Probably the best thing for us all to hope for is a 1080i/50 release from Network for the 'home' market, and a US releasing partner (like Shout! Factory) to release a US-compatible version. Hopefully, a bit quicker than the US release of Space: 1999.

  23. Lord Dalek

    Unfortunately this may confirm the fact that Gilliam's cartoons represent the only surviving film sequences from the show.

    A lot of sketches and links were shot on film, how would Gilliam's animation be the filmed sequences to survive?

  24. darkrock17

    A lot of sketches and links were shot on film, how would Gilliam's animation be the filmed sequences to survive?

    The BBC regularly junked their raw film once the sequences were telecined into the final shows.

  25. Lord Dalek

    Unfortunately this may confirm the fact that Gilliam's cartoons represent the only surviving film sequences from the show.

    How does this clip confirm the existence or non-existence of any of the other film segments used in the episodes?

  26. Lord Dalek

    Its the original 2" quad master tape being played back on a restored Ampex machine.

    It may be a restored machine, but, boy, could it use a real cleaning! lol.

    David Weicker

    How does this clip confirm the existence or non-existence of any of the other film segments used in the episodes?

    It doesn't confirm anything, to be sure, but I think it's telling that they only used animation to demonstrate their "stunning HD" restoration. I'm sure the animation is going to be absolutely lovely and any real, cleaned-up HD image is going to be better than what we currently have. A cleaned-up and upscaled image from the original tapes can look quite nice, even if it will never have the detail of film or something shot in HD. I've been impressed with the recent Doctor Who releases and the Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy release. I saw "Genesis of the Daleks" in a theater and the upscaled image held up nicely on a giant screen.

    Upscaling from SD video can certainly improve image quality, if not detail, when done correctly and can help extend the life of older material. So far, the BBC looks like they are providing the funds and time for it to be done properly, unlike some upscales put out by a few other organizations. (Some Anime distributors should be ashamed of themselves for the shoddy upscales they've released.)

    I doubt I'll be able to afford it for some time, but this release will definitely be on my list, should the opportunity arise down the road. Python's output was game-changing and remains among the smartest, funniest material ever produced.

  27. Trying to place an order but the site is very slow. Must be getting hit with preorders.

    Also need to find out if I get charged immediately or at the time of shipping.

    So far, shipping seems to be FREE, but not sure if that is a U.S. offer

  28. If indeed it's region-friendly for the US, I'll be in ASAP when the budget allows. The DVDs on my shelf are the original A&E two-per-box editions, so as pricey as this (Norwegian) blu seems now, it can't hold a candle to what I laid out in 1999-2000.

  29. Ronald Epstein

    CORRECTION: The price should be about $118 – $123 shipped to U.S. Still quite expensive

    I paid $99.99 for the A&E DVD set at COSTCO so I would still have to say it is still a great deal …
    [​IMG]

  30. I don’t think this is a bad price at all, especially compared to the 16-Ton dvd set. But I’m holding out for reviews. Don’t want to be blindsided by news of missing bits, dropped lines, music, etc.

  31. I’m thrilled at the price of this set. I still remember buying the whole series on VHS back in the 1990s. That was $20 for two episodes per tape for a total of about $440. I couldn’t hit buy now on this release fast enough.

  32. darkrock17

    I'll wait for the US release and then when it's 50% sale at Barnes & Nobel

    Lot of assumptions here, not the least of which assuming Barnes and Noble will still be in existence.

  33. texboil

    Lot of assumptions here, not the least of which assuming Barnes and Noble will still be in existence.

    A North American release is just obvious, as not everyone is going to pay $122 for this set plus the import tax and shipping. Also the NA release would be shelf-friendly than it looks right now as a large cardboard box. As for Barnes & Nobel, I don't think they're going away anytime soon. Yes, they one day will go the way as so many others stores, but that won't be for sometime though.

  34. BobO’Link

    The site description says:

    If "individually packaged" means some type of normal disc case inside that unwieldy box then that's OK as you can put the cases on the shelf and store the box.

    Here's a picture of what the inside of the box looks like. All 4 seasons look like there digipaks.
    [​IMG]

  35. darkrock17

    Here's a picture of what the inside of the box looks like. All 4 seasons look like there digipaks.

    Very nice!

    I am getting very exited or as some famous Hungarian once said:

    [​IMG]

  36. Network did the restoration on this themselves. They own that and for a US edition to be released, they would have to license the restoration from Network. The set they are producing is region free. I think they figure they can sell enough without having to do a separate US edition.

  37. bigshot

    Network did the restoration on this themselves. They own that and for a US edition to be released, they would have to license the restoration from Network. The set Network is producing is region free. I think they figure they can sell enough without having to do a separate US edition.

    Also, in a first for Network, they are producing two versions of this set: a 50i release for "PAL" countries, and a 60i release for "NTSC" countries. All US orders placed directly from Network's website will be filled with 60i discs (regardless of whether you can play 1080i/50 or not) to ensure compatibility with US equipment.

    This might open up a can of worms, however, when people start ordering from places like Amazon UK. Will they have both versions, or just the 50i? If they have both, can you choose, or are you stuck getting the one 'appropriate' for your country (I, personally, want a 50i set when I eventually decide to purchase this).

  38. While not confirmed, supposedly the individual seasons will follow at a later date. Presumably the ‘extras‘ in the box won’t be included (and the sum of four sets will be less than this Limited set.

    No actual details yet, but for me, if it’s the same discs, I would be ok with that.

  39. David Weicker

    While not confirmed, supposedly the individual seasons will follow at a later date. Presumably the ‘extras‘ in the box won’t be included (and the sum of four sets will be less than this Limited set.

    No actual details yet, but for me, if it’s the same discs, I would be ok with that.

    It should be the same discs. Typically, with Network, it's the extras (namely, the Andrew Pixely books) that won't be included later on.

    Mind, with The Goodies, almost all the 'real' extras (i.e. not the tote bag) were released separately after the limited-edition set sold out, as I recall.

  40. Since Network is producing a US version, it seems to me that they are considering their release to be the US release. They might make that version available in US Amazon and perhaps other retailers. There's no reason to wait for a US release if this one is 100% US compatible. Do you think the individual seasons will be produced in both US and UK versions too?

  41. bigshot

    Since Network is producing a US version, it seems to me that they are considering their release to be the US release. They might make that version available in US Amazon and perhaps other retailers. There's no reason to wait for a US release if this one is 100% US compatible. Do you think the individual seasons will be produced in both US and UK versions too?

    As someone speculated on Roobarb's, maybe Network will licence the individual series releases to Shout! or someone else.

    If not and they plan to do it themselves, they need to do something to differentiate any future 'retail' (non-exclusive) US/60i release from the UK/50i one (noticeably different boxart, if nothing else).

  42. texboil

    Lot of assumptions here, not the least of which assuming Barnes and Noble will still be in existence.

    I'd say the chance the B&N will be in existence is fairly high since I doubt someone would shell out 9 figures and shut it down 1 month later.
    Nov Criterion sale I'd say is a pretty safe bet, but much harder to say about the normal December Sales

  43. BobO’Link

    If nothing else, you should have the UK rating symbol on any UK version box(es). I'd think that won't be on a US release.

    Well, unless Network cheaps-out and doesn't licence the property out to someone else, fulfilling all orders (UK and US) with the same boxart.

    Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Network do a US and UK release of Robin of Sherwood? If so, anybody know if it was easy to distinguish between those?

    One would hope that if Network don't licence out the individual-series releases, that they'll make the extra effort to do much more than just take the BBFC symbols off the art to distinguish one from the other.

  44. AndyMcKinney

    Well, unless Network cheaps-out and doesn't licence the property out to someone else, fulfilling all orders (UK and US) with the same boxart.

    Maybe I'm mis-remembering, but didn't Network do a US and UK release of Robin of Sherwood? If so, anybody know if it was easy to distinguish between those?

    One would hope that if Network don't licence out the individual-series releases, that they'll make the extra effort to do much more than just take the BBFC symbols off the art to distinguish one from the other.

    Acorn Media released the DVD's and this Blu-ray set.

    [​IMG]

  45. I have an interesting question (or at least I think it's interesting)…

    I have to wait another week to order this set. I am at my budget max for this month and have to wait for my credit card to start a new cycle since I will be charged immediately…

    (but I digress)…

    Can I play the GBP value game with this preorder?

    …meaning wait for the value of GBP to drop (which it has) to get a better conversion rate on this set?

  46. Either way, I'm still interested to see just how much improvement they can get from 50-year-old tapes. The animated parts alone are like night and day based on the small smattering of samples released thus far, but I don't expect that much difference for everything else.

  47. MatthewA

    Either way, I'm still interested to see just how much improvement they can get from 50-year-old tapes. The animated parts alone are like night and day based on the small smattering of samples released thus far, but I don't expect that much difference for everything else.

    Did you watch the trailer, the clips they used look clean and clear to me.

  48. texboil

    This release has been postponed to November 4. Apparently due to some new material that was found.

    I just saw that! Great news, actually. I'd rather wait an extra month and get all the goods:
    Here is the email I got from Network Distributing:

    Dear customer,

    First, some slightly not-so-good-news – we’re really sorry that we have had to delay the release date of the magnificent box set until 4th November 2019

    The absolutely spiffing news, however, is that during the course of the restoration, just as we thought we’d seen everything, yet more cans of film material emerged from other quarters that could, frankly, have been anything. We’re still painstakingly going through every frame of the archive but have discovered a wealth of Python nuggets, a lot of it unseen.

    It would be impossible to include this material and still make the original release date but, it was an easy decision as not only is a lot of the material being seen for the first time, it is all being restored and presented in HD.

    As a thank you for your patience, enjoy this preview of an exclusive, very rare and reinstated piece of animation we have restored to HD quality:

  49. Philip Verdieck

    Ordered.
    104.33 = $130.55

    That website (Network) is very dangerous for me.

    I put The Prisoner, UFO and Space 1999 on my wish list.

    That's too expensive right now, going to have to wait till next year when the price drops either drops or a North American release is made from another studio/company.

  50. Coressel

    I just saw that! Great news, actually. I'd rather wait an extra month and get all the goods:
    Here is the email I got from Network Distributing:

    Dear customer,

    First, some slightly not-so-good-news – we’re really sorry that we have had to delay the release date of the magnificent box set until 4th November 2019

    The absolutely spiffing news, however, is that during the course of the restoration, just as we thought we’d seen everything, yet more cans of film material emerged from other quarters that could, frankly, have been anything. We’re still painstakingly going through every frame of the archive but have discovered a wealth of Python nuggets, a lot of it unseen.

    It would be impossible to include this material and still make the original release date but, it was an easy decision as not only is a lot of the material being seen for the first time, it is all being restored and presented in HD.

    As a thank you for your patience, enjoy this preview of an exclusive, very rare and reinstated piece of animation we have restored to HD quality:

    So I read this and was delighted. I, like the rest of you, would love to have some new (old) Python content.

    That led me to thinking, what did they find? My first thought was that it was skits they had done, but then decided not to include in episodes. Then I realized that can't be true, with the pathetic state of BBC tape reuse, any original skit media that wasn't included in final broadcast tapes would have been reused.

    So, if not stuff the BBC could destroy, it would have to be their private stuff. To me that means its limited to anything done for film or stage. Practice runs, or outtakes on parts of the movies or things like that.

    Another thought, and I doubt it, is stuff pre-Python, because of right's issues:

    At Last the 1948 Show
    Do Not Adjust Your Set

  51. Season 1 just showed up on Amazon UK.

    There are two listings
    £39.99 digipack (thicker box)
    £17.99 with an Amaray case.

    My assumption is the digipack has the booklet

    Oa a related note, there is also now a listing for Fawlty Towers on Blu

  52. That would be very surprising, if true. Usually, such restorations are copyright to whoever does the restoration (in this case, probably Network) and they would be owed some sort of compensation for using them.

    The BBC in the UK, for instance, did not use the restored versions in their recent repeats. They used off-the-shelf masters of their own. Maybe BBC America (separate company) struck some sort of deal, or, the rumour is false.

  53. While the BBC has its own video distribution arm [2 entertain], its titles have been distributed by numerous video companies in the UK over the years, owing to multiple rights holders, etc. Mostly, distribution has been handled by WB in North America, with a handful of exceptions.

  54. bigshot

    Distributors distribute. They don't often engage in restoring properties that they don't control.

    I think I've read that Jonathan Wood did the restoration work on Flying Circus, so the restoration should be in pretty good hands.

    If they (Network) are the ones underwriting at least some of the costs, though, they definitely have a stake and, perhaps, at least partial ownership of the "remastered masters". They're certainly not going to give them away for free. I'm sure they would probably have come to some sort of deal for the BBC to have archive copies and/or copies that they could distribute via syndication, but if Network paid some (or all) of the restoration costs, I'm sure they're going to want to recoup some of that.

    The BBC, technically, don't even have any rights to the Python episodes anymore, anyway. They lost those rights to the Pythons back in 1980.

    From what I've seen, Eric Idle has mentioned on Twitter that the Pythons themselves have underwritten the restoration (certainly, at least, in part), so it might be that the Pythons themselves wholly own the remastered tapes. The BBC would probably have to negotiate/pay a fee to use them.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm fairly certain that Network paid for the remastering of Space: 1999, even though the people at BBC Resources did the actual work. I think A&E/New Video ponied up some of the dough (half?) for Year One (which they gained distribution rights for), but part of the reason Year Two took so long was that Network had to "go solo" with it.

  55. What an irony. The Pythons are turning to the Beeb to help them restore what they were ready to throw out like yesterday's breakfast, and using (presumably) the same division that salvaged as many lost Doctor Who episodes as they could.

    I just wish there was as much effort into saving presumably lost American shows. Not that there aren't already wonderful people doing great work, but imagine how much of early TV presumed to be lost is merely misplaced and awaiting restoration.

    I wonder how many of the actual cameras and VTRs they used are still in existence. Obviously they were retired years ago for actual broadcast and production, but it would be interesting to compare them to what the US used at the time.

  56. AndyMcKinney

    If they (Network) are the ones underwriting at least some of the costs, though, they definitely have a stake and, perhaps, at least partial ownership of the "remastered masters".

    The way these things work is each part of the deal is another slice of the pie. If there are costs involved, they are exchanged for distribution rights. It's very doubtful that rights holders would give away an ownership stake to a distributor. However they might give the distributor an exclusive in a certain area for a specified period of time. In this case, that would be physical media in the UK. There is no reason to give a company that sells DVDs and blu-rays broadcast rights. They wouldn't even use them.

    Unless someone knows the terms of the contracts, its safe to assume that whoever owns the show still owns it, and they also own the rights to the restoration of the show they own. They can broadcast those new masters however they want… and I bet once a deal is in place for physical media in the US, you'll see the streaming copies (i.e. Netflix) upgraded too. Broadcast drives the sales of physical media.

  57. Worth

    At this point, there's a lot more money to be made in streaming than physical media. Netflix just paid nearly half a billion dollars for the rights to Seinfeld.

    Which is why Netflix subscriptions skyrocket. Sigh.

    At least, for the moment, their programming is better than the other services….for now.

  58. saw this on Roobarb's:

    Paul said on Facebook that every episode bar two are back to their original running length – and the two that aren't are actually longer!

    Also (sadly):
    no sculptor/wine tasting/cocktails according to Paul’s latest post: the only series 3 studio tapes are the two insert tapes that were on YouTube ages ago.

  59. Worth

    At this point, there's a lot more money to be made in streaming than physical media. Netflix just paid nearly half a billion dollars for the rights to Seinfeld.

    How many other shows that premiered the same year are worth that kind of money? Maybe The Simpsons but largely because that's still an ongoing concern. The medium is less important than the actual content.

  60. AndyMcKinney

    saw this on Roobarb's:

    Paul said on Facebook that every episode bar two are back to their original running length – and the two that aren't are actually longer!

    Also (sadly):
    no sculptor/wine tasting/cocktails according to Paul’s latest post: the only series 3 studio tapes are the two insert tapes that were on YouTube ages ago.

    He also said on missing-episodes.com that the BBC no longer holds an NTSC copy of Royal Episode 13 so RSC is out of the question. Also no kinis exists of that particular episode as the BBC did retain any prints of this season and even if they did, there is no record of black and white copies of anything other than the first 6 episodes of Season 2 being made available

  61. While I'm excited about the restored footage and reinstated material, I have to admit I'm disappointed that they didn't get any of the surviving Pythons to do commentary/interviews or even better a text commentary.

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