"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," said Eric Idle, following today's announcement that the final leg of the Monty Python tour is to air live on comedy channel Gold.
The last night of the Python's ten-date farewell show – Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down Five to Go – at London's O2 Arena will stream "for up to three hours" on Sunday 20 July on the subscription-only channel, immediately after a live backstage programme which is expected to follow comics Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin as they prepare for the performance, and could also see appearances from celebrity fans.
The tour sees the remaining Pythons (sans the late Grahan Chapman) reunite on stage for the first time in 40 years. It sold out its initial run of five nights in minutes last November but a further five dates were added and the seating capacity of the venue has since been increased meaning tickets are still available from www.montypythonlive.com.
The annoucement of Gold's broadcast follows the news that the final show will also be shown live in 450 cinemas around the UK and 1,500 around the world.
Later in the year, Gold will also air a new five-part series celebrating the nation’s favourite Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketches with clips from the original programmes and contributions from famous names from the world of comedy.
Richard Watsham, UKTV Director of Commissioning said of the live broadcast: “It’s 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. 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.”