Today in History: 1969 Monty Python's Flying Circus begins airing on BBC TV
The channel: BBC One, the date: Sunday, 5 October 1969, the time: 22.55 - a late night slot for a programme expected to be experimental, but not necessarily expected to last. Few predicted that 50+ years on we would still be celebrating that comedy legend - Monty Python.
It all happened in a somewhat ‘BBC way’ - lots of discussion and lots of memos, against a backdrop that allowed writers and performers breathing space to create.
Monty Python broke the mould, and changed comedy forever - an example of creativity at the BBC that just won’t die. For Shane Allen, Python is the holy grail of comedy history.
Monty Python highlights that long-standing BBC reputation of being the vital place that champions pioneering new talents. The Pythons tore up the rule book of comedy grammar, conventions and traditions, and we can see how that elicited some discomfort in certain quarters at the time.
Thankfully the support for creative freedom won the day and has certainly paid off in the long run as audiences continue to celebrate and revere their enormous impact on comedy.
The show proved itself a global phenomenon, and laid out the blueprint for so much of the comedy that followed for decades. Monty Python pushed existing boundaries off a cliff face, and became daring and exciting as the first real rock-and-roll comedy troupe that conquered the world.
They played stadiums and released albums. They were super-clever and exuded anti-establishment and counter-cultural cool.
The Pythons would continue to break ever more sacred taboos throughout the 70s as they moved from TV to film and end the decade with their finest work, 'The Life Of Brian', which was banned in certain parts of the country, and sparked debates around blasphemy.
Monty Python is now part of the nation's cultural DNA. It encapsulates a recognisably British eccentricity and has spawned popular catchphrases and figures of speech; from inspiring the phrase 'spam e-mail', to featuring in the London 2012 Olympics when the UK presented itself to the world with 'Always Look on the Bright Side of Life' closing the ceremony.
Reflecting on these documents we tip our bowler hats and doff our Gumby hankies to the BBC Comedy heads who came before and recognised the sparks of magic in the minds of these six comedy behemoths.
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Also on this day:
1274 Around 1,000 soldiers of the Mongol army land on the Japanese island of Tsushima, the first attack of Kublai Khan's Mongol invasion of Japan
1905 Orville and Wilbur Wright's make a circling flight on "Flyer III" of 24.2 miles (38.9 kms) in 39 minutes and 23 seconds
1910 Portugal overthrows monarchy, proclaims republic
1914 World War I first aerial combat resulting in a kill
1947 Harry Truman makes the 1st Presidential address televised from the White House
1962 "Dr. No", 1st James Bond film based on the novel by Ian Fleming and starring Sean Connery and Ursula Andress, premieres in London
1962 The Beatles release their first record, "Love Me Do"
1970 PBS becomes a US television network.
1978 Over 30 major nations ratify the Environmental Modification Convention which prohibits weather warfare that has widespread, long-lasting or severe effects
1983 Lech Wałęsa wins Nobel Peace Prize
1993 Last honour guard at Lenin's mausoleum
2000 Mass demonstrations in Belgrade culminate in the resignation of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević, often called the Bulldozer Revolution
2007 After years of angry denials, triple gold medal winning American sprinter Marion Jones admits she used steroids 2000-01; pleads guilty to lying to federal investigators; announces retirement in tearful apology; medals returned to USOC
2018 Banksy work "Girl With Balloon" automatically shreds moments after being sold for 1 million pounds in London, renamed "Love is in the Bin"
1958 Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist, TV presenter and writer, born in New York City
1951 Bob Geldof, Irish singer (The Boomtown Rats - "I Don't Like Mondays") and activist (Live Aid), born in Dún Laoghaire, Ireland
1950 Jeff Conaway, American actor and singer (Taxi, Babylon 5)
1943 Steve Miller, American rocker ("The Joker"; "Abracadabra"; "Fly Like An Eagle")
1919 Donald Pleasence, British actor (You Only Live Twice, The Great Escape, Halloween), born in Worksop, England
2011 Steve Jobs, American computer entrepreneur and co-founder of Apple, dies of respiratory arrest related to cancer at 56
2004 Rodney Dangerfield [John Cohen], American comedian (Caddyshack), dies at 82
2004 Maurice Wilkins, New Zealand-born English physicist (Nobel 1962-X-ray diffraction studies of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) proved crucial to the determination of DNA’s molecular structure by James D. Watson and Francis Crick), dies at 87
1918 Roland Garros, French stunt flyer
1813 Tecumseh, Shawnee Chief (Battle of Thames), dies in battle at 45
Holidays on this day
Balloons Around The World Day - (First Wednesday in October)
Chic Spy Day
Coffee With A Cop Day - (First Wednesday in October)
Do Something Nice Day
Get Funky Day
Global James Bond Day
International Day of No Prostitution
International Walk to School Day (First Wednesday in October)
National Apple Betty Day
National Kale Day - (First Wednesday in October)
National Kiss a Wrestler Day
National Pumpkin Seed Day - (First Wednesday in October)
National Storytelling Day
Random Acts of Poetry Day
Walk to School Day - (First Wednesday in October)
World Teacher's Day
On the Menu Today – Four-spice pork kebabs
Spicy kebabs. Are there two better words to hear when put together? This is easy, quick, and delicious, and if you don’t eat pork, you can switch for any other meat without any problems.
Today’s dish courtesy of LovefoodOpens a new window
For the marinade
- 2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
- 2 cm (0.7in) piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 3 tbsp light soy sauce
- 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
- 0.5 tsp ground cloves
- 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 500 g pork loin (shoulder or neck), cut into 4cm (1.5in) chunks
- 1 large red pepper, cut into chunks
- 3 tomatoes, deseeded and cut into chunks
- 1 large red onion, cut into chunks
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- First make the marinade. Using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic and ginger to a paste, then add in the soy sauce, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cayenne pepper and honey. Combine using a spoon.
- Place the pork in a mixing bowl with the marinade and rub well into the meat. Cover and refrigerate to marinate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.
- Place the pepper, tomato and red onion in a bowl and drizzle with the olive oil to coat the vegetables.
- Start to assemble the skewers. First take a piece of pork, pierce in the middle and push down to the end of the skewer, then alternate the tomato, peppers, onion and pork until all the skewers are full.
- Season with salt and pepper, and brush with the remaining marinade juices.
- Place the skewers on a preheated grill or barbecue for around 5 minutes on each side, until the pork is cooked throughout but still juicy and tender. Serve over steamed white rice.
Quote of the Day:
Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.
- Bruce Lee
Video of the Day:
Some Steve Miller magic for you, in celebration of his birthday!
Comic of the Day:
Mouseover: “There's no group chat member more enigmatic than the cool person who you all assume has the chat on mute, but who then instantly chimes in with no delay the moment something relevant to them is mentioned.”
Image Credit: https://xkcd.com/2235Opens a new window
Explain XKCD: https://www.explainxkcd.com/wiki/index.php/2235Opens a new window
Inspirobot Always Controversial, Occasionally Inspirational Quote of the Day:
Read 's constant Spark! from yesterday here. Don’t forget to leave some spice!