Terry Jones, Monty Python founder and Life of Brian director, dies aged 77
Jones, who was diagnosed with dementia in 2015, was the main directing force in Python’s films, as well a prolific creator of TV documentaries and children’s books
After Python, Jones worked on a huge variety of projects. With Palin, he created the successful TV series Ripping Yarns and forged a post-Python directorial career with Personal Services, Erik the Viking and The Wind in the Willows. He made a series of TV documentaries (specialising in medieval history), wrote nearly 20 children’s books, and contributed a string of comment pieces for the Guardian and Observer denouncing the “war on terror”.
Born in Colwyn Bay, Wales, in 1942, Jones moved to England as a child, growing up in Surrey. While at Oxford studying English literature, he met fellow student Palin while performing in the Oxford Revue. After university, along with Palin, Jones wrote and performed in a string of TV shows alongside other future stars of British comedy – including Graeme Garden, Bill Oddie, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Peter Cook and David Jason – on The Frost Report, Do Not Adjust Your Set and The Complete and Utter History of Britain.
In 1969, Palin and Jones joined Cambridge graduates Cleese and Graham Chapman – along with Idle and animator Terry Gilliam – on a BBC comedy sketch show. Eventually broadcast under the title Monty Python’s Flying Circus, it ran until 1974, with Jones largely writing with Palin (complementing Cleese’s partnership with Chapman). Seemingly chaotic, frequently surreal and formally daring, Monty Python’s Flying Circus would became one of the most influential shows in BBC history, revolutionising comedy formats, spawning scores of catchphrases, and inspiring an entire generation of comedians. Jones’s fondness for female impersonation was a key feature of the show, as was his erudite writing. headtopics.com
However, Jones was becoming more interested in directing. He later told the Guardian: “You not only act in the things – you’ve got to actually start directing the things as well. When we were doing Python the TV show, I was a real pain in the neck.” After the sketch-compilation feature And Now for Something Completely Different (released in 1971 with the ultimate intention of breaking the show in the US), the troupe embarked on an original film, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Jones got his chance to direct, in conjunction with Gilliam. He was very much signed up to Python’s democratic instinct: “If all six of us laughed at something, then we all felt, ‘That’s OK, we can go ahead with that.’ And, for me, it was just a question of getting that on the screen, getting that moment of us sitting around the read-through, that moment where we all laughed.”
Jones took over the Pythons’ next film, The Life of Brian, as a solo director, with Gilliam opting to concentrate on the film’s design. Backed by George Harrison’s HandMade films and released in 1979, the religious satire proved a major commercial hit as well as sparking global controversy. Jones made a memorable screen contribution as Brian’s mother, squawking the assembled worshippers: “He’s not the messiah, he’s a very naughty boy!”
Jones then directed the Python’s 1983 release, The Meaning of Life, on an even more elaborate scale, stitching together sketches, musical numbers and complex effects scenes. The film also contains arguably Jones’s most famous on-screen character: the giant Mr Creosote, who explodes after a final “wafer-thin mint”.
With the Python team agreeing to make no more feature films, Jones was free to branch out. Personal Services, a comedy based on the real-life story of suburban brothel-keeper Cynthia Payne released in 1987. He followed this up in 1989 with Erik the Viking, which starred Tim Robbins as a reluctant pillager, and was based on his own children’s book published in 1983. headtopics.com
As well as Erik the Viking, Jones was able to indulge his own fervent interest in ancient and medieval history in TV series, including Crusades (1995), Medieval Lives (2004) and Barbarians (2006), which he presented with infectious enthusiasm. He also published two books on Chaucer and created the kids’ TV cartoon Blazing Dragons, which ran for two seasons from 1996-98 and told the history of chivalry from the dragons’ point of view. Jones was also a prolific writer of children’s books, including self-originated fairytales such as Nicobobinus.
Jones became a vociferous opponent of the Iraq war, and published a collection of his newspaper columns and other writings in the 2004 book Terry Jones’s War on the War on Terror.His final directorial credit was the 2015 comedy Absolutely Anything, in which all four surviving Python members participated, but it received an unenthusiastic reception.
Jones was married twice: between 1970 and 2012 to biochemist Alison Telfer, with whom he had two children, and in 2012 to Anna Söderström, with whom he had one child. Read more: The Guardian »
Covid: Lockdown easing in England delayed to 19 July
Most remaining curbs on social contact will continue - but the cap on wedding guests will be lifted.
priswriter He wasn't really the messiah, but he was a very naughty boy... RIP TerryJones What a legend... Sad news. Thanks for all the laughter. 😥 the gift of light through laughter | full life 😢 AilsaForshaw Well today's a sad day :( 💔💔 😔😔 😔😔😔 Rest In Peace Happy trails Terry, thank you for the happiness you created
England's Jones brings eight uncapped players into Six Nations squadEngland have dropped Jack Nowell from their squad for the Six Nations, one of 10 absentees from the recent World Cup
A nod’s as good as a wink to a blind bat! RIP the Queen of Spam, the Virgin (ahem) Mother of Brian, Monsieur Creosote and directeur extraordinarie, Terry Jones. Today, Python fans around the globe laugh a little bit less. Sometimes, life is a piece of shit, when you look at it. CityBureaucrat JEHOVAH! JEHOVAH!
All us Python fans deeply saddened at loss of Terry Jones, actor, director, writer. Particularly funny as Brian's mother in Life of Brian. Another brilliant, creative mind gone. RIP He was a legend!!! Unparalleled brilliance .... Still a naughty boy 😂 Very sad, RIP Terry, such a talent lost Sadly missed maryannehobbs From Colwyn Bay of legend. Bless:):)
Oh no 😢
Bruce Jones: Les Battersby star hits out at Corrie viewers ‘It really gets on my nerves’BRUCE JONES will seemingly forever be remembered as Coronation Street’s Les Battersby, something which he has now admitted can sometimes “get on [his] nerves”.
My Dad Suffered with this too, from a Heavy bang to the Head,which 14 years later, Still Don't Know How it Occurred. My Dad would let me Watch Monty P on a Sunday Night-We loved Terry RIP RIP, Terry: you gave us wonderfully funny moments that will sustain us for a lifetime...! Rip🙏🏽 davidwalliams Rest in peace Terry Jones
daveanthony Well shit davidwalliams RIP . RIP! Too irreverent for heaven, too good for hell. Sadness. jgodoym Q. E. P. D. Muy triste noticia, pero deja un legado eterno
Matt Baker: 'Let’s move on quickly’ Alex Jones snaps at smirking The One Show co-hostMATT BAKER did not leave his The One Show co-host Alex Jones impressed last week after he lost it over a rather unusual restaurant name during a serious segment on the BBC One show.
What a life, what a legacy RIP Very sad news Daft and silly. But a comic genius. RIP Terry. RIP 😭 D.E.P. So sad.😥 Thanks for all the laughs. R.I.P. Terry RIPTerryJones 😔 adieu Terry and thanks for the laughs
The One Show fans 'turn off' after 'awkward' Gillian Anderson and Alex Jones clashTHE ONE SHOW fans got to see Sex Education and The Crown star Gillian Anderson take a seat on the famous green couch this evening to face questions from Alex Jones and Matt Baker. However, some BBC viewers were left “turning” off their TVs following the “awkward” encounter. Should have had the other one doing the interview
So very talented both in front and behind the camera and at the writers desk. I’m sure JohnCleese and NotMichaelPalin TerryGilliam all think the same and have wonderful things to say about him. RIPTerryJones Thanks for the laughs, Terry! A true great So sad to hear Monty Python star Terry Jones has died. A lovely, funny, genius of a man. A true legend who will forever live on. 'Thank you for all the belly laughs' RIPTerryJones ❤
😢 Very sad. So sorry that he was a victim of Alzheimer's. He's free now. RIP. 😕 Fuck. JMooreBoston That’s sad 😢 MDfineart R.I.P.🙏
Defiant Eddie Jones still believes England can be world’s best team | Michael AylwinEngland head coach set to rebuild with new faces after painful World Cup final defeat and recent Saracens scandal Man City can still win the Premier League. But it's highly unlikely. I back you Eddie xxx Stay on and get us the next world cup bigman 12:15 AM · 21 янв. 2020 г.· ПРОСТО ЕМУ СКАЗАЛИ ПОВЕРИТЬ В ЭТО
Comedy legend RIP KangarooCaught A great performer and creative talent....with a lasting legacy. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ ramonlobo DEP And only 77!!!! One of my heroes!! RIP dear great one! RIP Terry. You helped me look at the bright side of life. Sit tibi terra levis. Se va un gran cómico. Nos deja su ironía para reírnos de todo.
And if the legend Terry Jones were doing comedy today The Guardian would be condemning him as being offensive...let's not forget that. R.I.P. TERRY JONES Sad news. Tonight, a memorial viewing of Bicycle Repairman Genuinely so sad to read this. His humour has been part of my whole life. I think genius is an overused term but it has never been more apt than for Terry Jones.
Eddie Jones to gather England squad for peace talks over Saracens furoreEngland head coach Eddie Jones will hold clear-the-air talks with his squad in Portugal next week in the hope that any club rivalries are quashed ahead of the Six Nations СКОРО ВОКРУГ ТЕБЯ СОБЕРУТСЯ ПРОКУРОРЫ , ЭДИК РУКИ-НОЖНИЦЫ All about BIG money, gambling, the mafia etc, not sport! Why not use the space for sport to work to save Earth from such bizarre peoples greed and violence. These are violent damaging contact sports, from the bars of the Stone Age
the world lost a bit of charm DEP Terry Jones. Genius RIP 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤 Looks like took my criticism hard mrboontweets... Noooooooooooooooooooooo Who? Awwww, damn....