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Author: Peter Marks

This book argues the centrality of hybridity to Terry Gilliam's films. Gilliam had a collaborative approach to filmmaking and a desire to provoke audiences to their own interpretations as other forms of intertextual practice. Placing Gilliam in the category of cinematic fantasist does some preliminary critical work, but crudely homogenises the diversity of his output. One way of marking this range comes from understanding that Gilliam employs an extraordinary variety of genres. These include medieval comedy; children's historical adventure; dystopian satire; the fantastic voyage; science fiction; Gonzo Journalism; fairy tale; and gothic horror. Gilliam's work with Monty Python assured him a revered place in the history of that medium in Britain. As a result, the Python films, And Now for Something Completely Different, The Holy Grail, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, along with his own, Jabberwocky, Time Bandits, and Brazil, show him moving successfully into the British film industry. Most of his films have been adaptations of literary texts, and Jabberwocky forges an extended tale of monsters and market forces. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen builds on some tales from the original texts, constructing a complex examination of fantasy, representation and mortality. Taking crucial ingredients from medieval and older mythologies, the screenplay of The Fisher King resituates them and reworks them for modern America. Gilliam's complex interaction with Britain and America explains his ambiguous place in accounts of American and British films.

Peter Marks

performers were given opportunities to create shows. They were also allowed enormous artistic freedom on the content, structure and tone of these programmes. An essential element was the tradition of Oxford and Cambridge university student revues, in which all the British members of what would eventually become Monty Python’s Flying Circus performed. The most important early figures from this tradition were

in Terry Gilliam
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Peter Marks

filming of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), an earlier expedition into the precarious world of European filmmaking. By 1988 Gilliam had lived in Britain for two decades, establishing himself as a central force in Monty Python’s Flying Circus , the most inventive and celebrated comedy troupe in British television. His work with Python assured him a revered place in the history of that

in Terry Gilliam
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Developments in post-alternative sketch comedy
Leon Hunt

your own, do yer?’). Nor has inconsistency harmed the series’ ‘classic’ status (a prestigious BBC 2 theme night in 1999, a cameo appearance by celebrity fan Johnny Depp) any more than it did the equally hit-and-miss Monty Python. Considering its popularity and longevity, the sketch show is under-theorized and critically neglected compared to sitcom – its conciseness and comparative lack of narrative or character complexity makes it harder to get to grips with. With some exceptions, it also seems to be regarded as the poor relation of sitcom. In a recent article

in Cult British TV comedy
Quentin Falk

, he also observes: To a modern viewer, it’s intoxicatingly swinging sixties London in its style. Compared to other ITC programmes of the time though, Strange Report has a grittier, earthier feel. Consciously stripped of the glamour and gadgets of its stablemates, it veers towards realism. The settings are recognisably real world. This is a London that goes beyond Carnaby Street to embrace dingy bedsits, brutalist tower blocks and glass-lined polytechnics. 14 *** In 1969, some months before Monty Python’s Flying Circus first aired on the BBC changing sketch

in Charles Crichton
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Peter Marks

on seats) and of decay. King Bruno’s castle gives way to cramped and garish suburbia grimly oriented towards the television. In Brazil and Twelve Monkeys , televisions are channels for state or commercial propaganda. This might seem hypocritical given Gilliam’s history, but Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a form of anti-television, its parodies and absurdities a reaction against the

in Terry Gilliam
Mapping post-alternative comedy
Leon Hunt

or alienating others who didn’t ‘get’ it. Neale and Krutnik credit NAAFI comedians like Milligan (in particular) and Sellers with starting to deconstruct the conventions of traditional variety comedy (1990: 206). The third wave is what Wilmut calls the ‘university comedians’ (1980: xvii) – the ‘Oxbridge Mafia’ (Ibid.: xxii) would fuel both the ‘satire boom’ of the 1960s and the continuation of surreal British comedy via Monty Python’s Flying Circus (BBC 2 1969–74). Neale and Krutnik suggest that there was also a significant transformation in the audience for comedy

in Cult British TV comedy
Quentin Falk

concerned’. 35 Before Wanda , Benson had in his capacity as an experienced first assistant dealt with everything from the excesses of Ken Russell to the lunacy of Monty Python, not to mention being part of the Oscar-winning team on Chariots of Fire (1981). He told me: I met Charlie for the first time at the beginning of filming. I thought at first that he was a bit intolerant. Then one day he apologised and said he was sorry for getting impatient and wouldn’t be again. After a while, I learned to like him a lot and we became good friends, and from my point of view

in Charles Crichton
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Wickham Clayton

against the long-established tropes of the Golden Age of Hollywood with its biblical films. It is, in fact, the idea of grappling with faith and witnessing that process on film which brought the ire of the U.S.American right, certainly its vocal religious representatives, as happened nine years earlier in the UK with Monty Python’s Life of Brian . In both cases we see the questioning of core tenets of faith being deemed blasphemy. Life of Brian , a comedy about the man who was born in the stable next to Jesus, provides a useful point of comparison. According to

in The Bible onscreen in the new millennium
From laugh track to commentary track
Leon Hunt

the audience’s response (as if that was something that ruined their enjoyment of, say, Monty Python or Dad’s Army’ (2007: 2). It seems fair to suggest that the aesthetic debates about recorded laughter apply primarily to sitcom and to a lesser extent the sketch show, which didn’t appear to ‘outgrow’ the studio audience to quite the same degree that sitcom was perceived to have done. It is impossible to imagine a panel show or a stand-up/variety format without a studio or theatre audience because ‘liveness’ and ‘working’ an audience are so intrinsic to the formats

in Cult British TV comedy