Page last updated at 15:18 GMT, Tuesday, 18 August 2009 16:18 UK

Special Bafta honour for Pythons

Monty Python's Flying Circus
The Pythons became a hugely influential comedy act

The team behind Monty Python's Flying Circus are to receive a special Bafta honouring their outstanding contribution to film and television.

The award will be presented to the five surviving members of the surreal comedy group at the official 40th anniversary Monty Python Reunion in New York.

John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin will attend the event on 15 October.

Bafta chairman David Parfitt described the award as a "fitting tribute".

Cinema prize

"We're absolutely delighted to co-host this promises to be a rare and memorable occasion bringing the hugely talented Monty Python team together again," he said.

"We feel that the special award is a fitting tribute to this much-loved and singularly British institution," he added.

The Pythons will take part in a Q&A session before receiving the award at the end of the evening.

Monty Python's Flying Circus first aired on the BBC on 5 October 1969 and ran until 1974.

It was written and performed by Cleese, Gilliam, Idle, Jones, Palin and the late Graham Chapman.

European premiere

Monty Python's Flying Circus
Graham Chapman (second from left) died in 1989

The Academy last honoured the Monty Python team in 1987, when they were presented with the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema.

"I believe these trinkets are more important than people think," said Cleese at the time.

Previous recipients of Bafta's special awards include Dame Judi Dench, Lord Attenborough, Julie Walters, Andrey Hepburn, Billy Connolly and Dame Maggie Smith.

Idle, Palin, Jones and Gilliam will also be appearing in the European premiere of Idle's musical Not The Messiah (He's A Very Naughty Boy) at the Royal Albert Hall on 23 October.

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