Page last updated at 18:57 GMT, Friday, 27 February 2009

Python stars for special showing

By Carl Yapp
BBC News

(L-R) John Cleese, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman
(L-R) John Cleese, Michael Palin and Graham Chapman in Life of Brian

Two Monty Python stars will be at a special screening of their film Life of Brian in a town where it was believed to have been banned 30 years ago.

Terry Jones and Michael Palin will join Aberystwyth mayor Sue Jones-Davies - who also starred in the 1979 film - at a charity showing on 28 March.

Long before becoming mayor, she played Brian's girlfriend in the movie.

But she pledged to fight for the film to be shown when it was thought it had not been seen in the town since.

In 1979, opponents claimed Life of Brian made fun of Jesus, and they accused the Python team of blasphemy with its story about a Jewish man who was mistaken for the messiah and then crucified.

Aberystwyth mayor Sue Jones-Davies
They've been banned from so many places I'm not sure they'd heard about what was happening in Aberystwyth
Sue Jones-Davies, mayor of Aberystwyth (2009), Judith Iscariot, Brian's girlfriend (1979)

Some religious groups picketed cinemas which screened the film.

It is understood some churchgoers in the seaside resort are still against the film being shown.

But Ms Jones-Davies said she had been assured there was nothing standing in the way of showing Life of Brian in Aberystwyth in 2009.

"I talked to officials at the town council to check if it was appropriate to show the film and we thought, why not, the proceeds are going to charity," she said.

"I then asked Terry if he would like to come to the screening and he said, 'shall I ask Michael?'. I said yes and then Michael agreed."

Iconic lines

Ms Jones-Davies was not certain the Python stars had heard about her campaign to show the film.

"They've been banned from so many places I'm not sure they'd heard about what was happening in Aberystwyth," she added.

Proceeds from March's screening will go to charities nominated by Terry Jones and Ms Jones-Davies.

The two Pythons and the mayor will also hold a question and answer session with fans following a champagne reception and the film.

From left: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Sue Jones-Davies (centre) , John Cleese and Michael Palin
Sue Jones-Davies (centre) with the Monty Python team on the film

Tickets costing £25 are on sale now, but organisers said only 120 were available.

They called it "a rare opportunity to get to talk to the stars from the film in an intimate setting".

Ms Jones-Davies' chosen charity is Calon Ceredgion Nurse Appeal, which is part of British Heart Foundation Cymru.

Terry Jones has chosen Truthout, a news agency dedicated to establishing a "powerful, stable voice" for independent journalism.

Life of Brian has maintained its popularity. It is usually at or near the top of lists of the greatest comedy films.

It featured some iconic lines, most famously the verdict by Brian's mother on her son: "He's not the messiah - he's a very naughty boy".

Ms Jones-Davies played a revolutionary called Judith Iscariot, including a nude scene with the film's hero, Brian, played by the late Graham Chapman.

EDITOR'S NOTE (added in April, 2009): It was thought for many years that Life of Brian had been banned in Aberystwyth, and Sue Jones-Davies wanted to get it shown there on that basis.

But it subsequently emerged that although councillors in the county Ceredigion formed a sub-committee in 1981 to watch the film, and found parts "quite unacceptable", they allowed it to be shown. However, the belief persisted among some for decades that there was a ban.

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