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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Inga Parkel

John Cleese mocked for asking why BBC hasn’t shown Monty Python ‘for over a decade’


John Cleese has been given short shrift on social media after he complained about the BBC not running repeats of Monty Python – after apparently forgetting who owned the licensing rights to the influential comedy show’s library.

While the former six-piece comedy troupe’s popular TV sketch series Monty Python and the Flying Circus originated on BBC in 1969, it was later sold to Netflix in 2019, along with the rest of their movies, collections and specials.

However, this appeared to be news to Cleese, one of Monty Python’s founding members.

“Can anyone (including BBC employees) tell me why the BBC has not shown Monty Python for a couple of decades?” Cleese asked on Twitter, Tuesday 27 December.

Many mocked the controversial comedian for his question, with one responding: “Because they don’t own the license, John Cleese.

“If you’d been brighter, John, you’d have retained your own rights, but you’re not, so you didn’t. Netflix owns you and Monty,” they added.

A second commented in disbelief: “Can anyone tell me how John Cleese (including his accountant or agent) doesn’t know that the BBC showed Monty Python back in 2019 for the 50th anniversary and then Netflix bought the rights to show it in the UK?”

“You decided to give the exclusive rights to Netflix, you faded light bulb,” a third wrote.

“Cuz the BBC sold the license for the show to Netflix. I don’t work for the BBC but it’s pretty easy to find out, John,” comedian Sooz Kempner added. “I watched it on Netflix in 2020 with @garethjoyner and we’re right lefty woke cucks. We LOVED it. Absolutely fantastic, held up wonderfully 50 years later.”

Another suggested: “Because they sold out to GB News? Wait no, that was you.”

The Independent has reached out to Cleese for comment.

Meanwhile, others shared in Cleese’s disappointment.

“Monty Python was and still is a show far ahead of its time,” one argued.

Monty Python’s Flying Circus ran from 1969 to 1974 and is considered one of the UK’s most influential comedy series (BBC)

Another thanked Cleese for his “work over the years, some of which are still my favourites”.

“I love it John, but it is very much ‘of its time’. People will rediscover the material in good time, because it was very good,” someone added.

Cleese, 83, has aligned himself as a vocal critic of “woke culture”.

Earlier this year, he refuted claims that he had his microphone taken away at an SXSW panel after he made a controversial slavery joke.

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