The Pythons are definitely back. After all the hype and newspaper leaks earlier this week, the five surviving members of the troupe confirmed that they would be returning for a one-off live performance.
The venue: the O2 Centre, London. The date: 1 July 2014.
Tickets go on sale this Monday 25 November at 10am, with the cheapest going for £27.50 and the most expensive priced at £95.
In case you can’t get tickets, Eric Idle assured RadioTimes.com that the show will be filmed in order to be “flogged at some point later” probably as a DVD or iTunes download.
And while the Pythons have so far not thought beyond the one-off stage date, they did not rule out a return to BBC television, although Palin told us: “You would have to ask the BBC about that.”
At a lighthearted press conference in London’s Playhouse Theatre where the Python musical Spamalot is playing, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones deliberately sat behind the wrong namecards and answered questions for other Pythons.
The show, they revealed, will include old material plus some new stuff, although they were at pains to point out that fans often want the material they know best.
Cleese said there was a lesson to be learned from the recent experience of Neil Diamond, who was booed for doing new tracks in the second half of his gig at the Royal Albert Hall.
“People do want to see the old favourites but they do not want to see them done in exactly the same way so it will be a mix up,’ he added.
However Cleese said he would not be reprising his famous silly walk. “I have an artificial knee and an artificial hip so the silly walk is out” he said.
The Pythons have never performed material from their 1983 film The Meaning of Life before on stage, so that will be a first, said Idle – though he too was wary of including too much new comedy, adding “There is nothing like a band saying we are going to do some songs from our new album to maker people want to go to the toilet.”
Idle said the Pythons were curious about reforming, though: “We thought it would be good to see if we could do a show and if it would be funny.”
Palin chipped in to assure fans that he had read the new material “and it is really rather funny”, adding “We actually make each other laugh. I didn’t think it would be possible to be silly at 73 but actually you can be more silly.”
“We may not like each other but we are funny together,” confirmed Gilliam.
Also in attendance was Carol Cleveland, the busty blonde from the Monty Python TV show, who revealed that she would be appearing alongside the boys.
“They asked me so I am going on stage aged 72 in a show girl costume,” she confirmed from the audience.
As for the missing Python, Graham Chapman, who died in 1989, the gang were solemn for a moment.
“We will miss Graham quite a lot,” said Jones. Idle added that Chapman’s presence will be felt on stage. “He will be there,” he said.
Whether the Pythons will decide to take Chapman’s ashes on stage as they supposedly did at their 1998 performance in Aspen is, however, something completely different…