Monty Python's Flying Circus-Monty Python's Personal Best (2006)

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Released 4-Dec-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Terry Jones' Personal Second Best
Featurette-A Look Into The Real John Cleese
Featurette-Eric Idle's Personal Second Best
Featurette-Michael Palin's Personal Second Best
Featurette-A Retrospective Of Python's Animation
Featurette-Graham Chapman's Personal Second Best
Trailer-Monty Python And The Holy Grail
Trailer-Monty Python's Life of Brian
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 336:12
RSDL / Flipper No/No
Multi Disc Set (6)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4,5 Directed By None Given

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Michael Palin
Terry Jones
Eric Idle
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Case ?
RPI $49.95 Music None Given

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Monty Python are developing something of a reputation for being experts when it comes to recycling their product. They're not all that ashamed of it either, with titles like Another Ripp-off, Cash-in Edition and the like it's surprising they continue to get away with it!

    The case in question here is Monty Python's Personal Best, a new compilation of material predominantly culled from the Monty Python's Flying Circus television series, which ran on the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The compilation is spread over six DVD5 discs, each disc containing about an hour of material dedicated specifically to one of the Python members. Some new material is included in the form of faux interviews and the like, but I'm certain that if you already own the Complete Collection of Flying Circus this won't be worth the investment. Another aspect of the compilation that disappointed me is the amount of overlap in the content between discs. Watching these back-to-back, I lost count of how many times I saw the Fish Slapping Dance, and the Cheese Shop pops up more than a few times as well. Also, the flow feels very odd because segues are missing and sketches that should flow from one to another have been awkwardly edited. Having said that, it is a good overview of the Python's work that could be an interesting introduction for a newcomer. Here's a quick run-down of the content:

  1. Eric Idle's Personal Best (56:30) - Recycling the outfit and microphone (and character) he used in the recent Rutles DVD, Eric greets us from inside the Hollywood Bowl, introducing skits that were recorded live for Python's Live At The Hollywood Bowl video. There are a couple of clips from Flying Circus to be found, but most of the content here is from the Hollywood Bowl performance. Includes classics such as Nudge Nudge, Philosophers Football, Everest Hairdressers Expedition and The Bruces.
  2. Graham Chapman's Personal Best (56:30) - This is essentially a documentary covering Chapman's contribution to Python and divulging a surprising amount of detail about his personal life. The other Pythons are interviewed (seriously) and share their anecdotes and personal thoughts on working with Graham. Sketches include Colin Bomber Harris, The Colonel, Anne Elk, Oscar Wilde, Mollusks, Ken Shabby, Silly Walks, Albatross, Dead Parrot and Spam.
  3. John Cleese's Personal Best (56:48) - Filmed poolside at his ranch in Santa Barbara, Cleese poses as a ninety-six year old dolt and insults his Python colleagues to the best of his ability. Some material from ...And Now For Something Completely Different is included here, as well as the Gumby Brain Specialist, Confuse-a-cat, Picasso Cycling Race and Upper-class Twit of the Year.
  4. Michael Palin's Personal Best (56:38) - New footage includes a detailed dissection of the Fish Slapping Dance, filmed at London's Teddington Lock. Other sketches include Piranha Brothers and Cheese Shop.
  5. Terry Gilliam's Personal Best (56:30) - My favourite disc of the lot, this is a full, hour-long compilation of only the animated bits. I'm certain that repeated viewing of this disc could drive any normal human completely insane, but it's superb fun. Includes such classics as Killer Cars and House Hunters.
  6. Terry Jones' Personal Best (56:30) - Terry guides us through his stately home, taking credit for absolutely everything and introducing his favourite sketches as we go along. These include Killer Joke, Bicycle Repairman, Olympic Hide & Seek, Fish Slapping (again) and the Lumberjack Song.

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Transfer Quality


    This video transfer is a mixed bag to say the least. Obviously, the newly filmed segments are pristine, while the older sketches vary in quality. BBC programs from this period were filmed on analogue video in the studio and 16mm film on outdoor locations. The aspect is a consistent 1.33:1, full frame.

    The image is as sharp as one would expect, considering the age of the source material. Some film artefacts, dirt and dust, is visible on the 16mm footage and some damage is visible from time to time. Magnetic tape hiccoughs are common, but aren't too obtrusive.

    Colours are generally well rendered, but can appear a little smeared during the studio sequences that utilised videotape.

    MPEG compression issues are kept to a minimum.

    An English subtitle stream is available (among a myriad of other languages) and seems to follow the dialogue accurately.

    All discs in this set are DVD5 formatted.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There's really very little to report here. A single two-channel Dolby Digital stream is included, encoded at 192Kb/s. This is effectively a mono effort.

    The dialogue is dominant in the mix and easy to understand. I didn't notice any audio sync issues.

    Like the video, the audio shows its age in places. There are a few minor drops in quality now and then, but it's never at the expense of the humor.

    There's obviously no surround or subwoofer activity to report.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    This is decent collection of bonus material, but as I stated above, for a fan who already owns the complete series it's hardly an essential purchase. None of the content is 16x9 enhanced. The extras are also subtitled in English, French, German, Italian and Dutch.


    The menu pages are fantastically animated, in Gilliam's style of course, complete with sound effects and nifty page transitions.

Featurette- Eric Idle's Personal Second Best (10:34)

    A couple of additional sketches; the Multiple Murderer Court Scene and a personal favourite, Salad Days.

Featurette- Graham Chapman's Personal Second Best (7:44)

    A couple of additional sketches; Lifeboat Cannibalism and Lupins.

Featurette- A Look Into the Real John Cleese (4:59)

    A would-be making-of of the poolside interview which took two days to shoot. Cleese praises the crew generously while they all express their loathing for the man behind his back.

Featurette- Michael Palin's Personal Second Best (9:50)

    A couple of hilarious additional sketches; Beethoven's Mynah Bird, Julius Caesar on an Aldis Lamp, A Man With Three Buttocks and Johann Gambolpotty... of Ulm.

Featurette- A Retrospective of Python's Animation (13:32)

    A very informative interview with Terry Gilliam, discussing how the animation was put together, the processes he used and his thoughts on why the style works so well.

Featurette- Terry Jones' Personal Second Best (9:06)

    A couple of additional sketches; Hell's Granny's, Cross-Channel Jump and Njorl's Saga.

Quiz (6)

    Each disc has a ten-question quiz (titled Personal Test), based on the disc's content (some questions also cover the extras). It's a simple, menu-based system with no apparent prize for gaining 10 out of 10.


    The trailer for the Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD is included on every one of the six discs. The trailer for Life Of Brian can be found only on the John Cleese disc.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    This release seems to be relatively identical in content across all regions. If you're determined to make a purchase, be sure to shop around.

    For the complete collection of Flying Circus, you can't go past the 16 Ton Mega Box.


    A somewhat disjointed, but entertaining compilation of sketches from Python's popular television series.

    The transfer is as good as you would expect, given the age of the source material.

    The extras are worth a look.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Monday, July 07, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.

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