RIP Andrew Sachs

I would be remiss if I didn’t pause to note the passing of the wonderful Andrew Sachs, known best to the world as Manuel in “Fawlty Towers.”

I’d like to write about what a talented actor he was, but that’s obvious to anyone who has ever seen an episode of Fawlty Towers. I can’t tell you all what a great person he was, because I was never lucky enough to actually meet him. But I do know the high regard in which John held him, and I know that his comic portrayal will live forever. And that’s a pretty great legacy, isn’t it?

#johncleese #fawltytowers

John and Eric

Just a few short hours from now, @johncleese and @ericidle will be taking the stage in Victoria, B.C. for the first of nearly three dozen North American shows down the west coast and across the Southwest and South. Here’s the info if you’re interested. Me? I’m going to take a nap. The thought of that schedule has me exhausted. #montypython #johncleese #ericidle #johnanderic

Cleese on Grail

Grail B&W1

Looks like it’s okay to announce this now.

If you’re disappointed because your part of America didn’t have a chance to see Eric and John last year and this year. you’re still out of luck. But if you’ve always wanted to see Monty Python and the Holy Grail presented by John, with a full discussion of the film and audience Q&A, you’re in luck. During the month of January, there will be lots and lots of opportunities. Only three have been announced so far, but there will be more. Honest.

14 January – Providence Performing Arts Centre, Rhode Island.  Tickets are on-sale NOW, right here.

20 January – The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts, Maine.  You can access the PRE-SALE tickets using the password: GRAIL here. Pre-sale ends Monday 10 October at 10pm.

 
22 January – The Chicago Theatre, Chicago.  Tickets are on-sale NOW, right, here.  

Looking at the Bright Side…

TJ

Sunday night saw Terry Jones honored by BAFTA for Lifetime Achievement, which you can read about here.  If you viewed it while it was live streamed or simply saw clips of it since then, I think you’ll agree it was a touching night, made more so by Terry’s announcement of his dementia diagnosis. Michael Palin gave a great speech, as did Terry’s son Bill. Even John Cleese was touched–and John isn’t a man consumed by sentiment!  While Terry may begin to fade from the public spotlight, his contributions will only become more obvious as time goes on. But as I’m sure he’d want me to remind you–he’s not dead yet!

 

Terry’s Day

I should probably point out that Terry Jones is getting a Lifetime Achievement Award this Sunday from BAFTA Wales.
As regular readers of this column know, Terry has recently gone public with his diagnosis of dementia, and although Terry won’t be speaking, his son Bill and Michael Palin will be presenting it. The ceremony will be streamed live, so anyone with internet access should be able to log on and watch. If you want to see it live, tune in to http://www.bafta.org/wales.
There’s a nice tribute page up for Terry on that site (I helped them organize some of the photos), and it should all be an emotional but celebratory time. It’s so nice to see an amazing talent and a wonderful man like Terry get the recognition he has earned, and I couldn’t be happier for him and his family. If you’re a fan of his, you won’t want to miss it.Willy_150908_9767

Terry and Terry

I know Terry Jones will be very excited and happy to see all of the well-wishes from his fans from around the world, and I’ll make sure his family is aware of them. Even though they are dealing with a lot nowadays, the outpouring of love, affection, and support is pretty incredible.

tj-hj-selfie

In the midst of the announcement of Terry’s dementia, however, another bit of sad news for Python fans may be overlooked. Terence Baylor, one of the rep company for Life of Brian, passed away this week.

I got to spend many jolly hours with Terry B on the set of Brian in Tunisia, and he couldn’t have been nicer—I’m glad I was able to interview him for my Monty Python’s Tunisian Holiday book. He appeared in numerous roles throughout the film, from Carol Cleveland’s husband in the Sermon on the Mount scene, to the crucifee who said “I’m Brian and so’s my wife.”

tb

One indication of how much the Pythons valued him was evident when keeping in mind how little the Pythons improvised on any of their projects. When we were filming the crowd scene outside Brian’s window, the crowd responds to Brian’s “You’re all different” with “Yes, we are all different.” Terry B, who was standing near John, suggested something to him, and there was a brief discussion. The next thing I knew, when the hundreds of people shouted “Yes, we are all different,” Terry raised his hand and said “I’m not.” It worked, and it stayed in the final edit. Terence Baylor had just improvised in a Python film!

The last time I saw him was at a Python anniversary party in London in 1989, where he and some of the other rep company members were commenting (and rightly so) on how good Carol Cleveland still looked. I didn’t see much of him afterward, as he was a busy working stage, film, and TV actor, as evidenced by his appearance in the first Harry Potter film. But even Harry Potter didn’t let him improvise!