What the hell, BBC? Do you have an inferiority complex or something?
The British comedy troupe Monty Python is alive and well these days (except for Graham Chapman, of course), having surpassed cult status and entered the realm of pop culture icons with a touring musical and even a card game.
But if the British Broadcasting Corporation had had its way in the 1970s, the group’s TV show might never have survived to reach the DVD generation.
According to an interview with CNN to promote the new Independent Film Channel documentary series Monty Python: Almost the Truth (The Lawyer’s Cut), the original tape recordings of Monty Python’s Flying Circus were nearly wiped so they could be reused by the penny-pinching boobs at the Beeb.
As Python alum Terry Jones told CNN: “That is what the BBC did in those days; they wanted the videotapes to reuse.” He said he got a call in 1971 warning him that the BBC was going to erase the original tapes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, but fellow Python Terry Gilliam stepped in and bought them before that could happen.
If only someone had been paying such attention to the Doctor Who recordings; many of the classic sci-fi drama’s earliest episodes were overwritten or dumped to clear storage space in BBC facilities, and only a handful have been rediscovered and restored.
Granted, this was long before home video was in the picture, but that doesn’t make it any less shortsighted.