by Hans ten Cate
special thanks to Jim DiMiero at St. Martin's Press
Monday, 15 September 2003

The Pythons: Autobiography by The Pythons will be published October 7 by St. Martin's in the U.S. (but it on and

Mark your calendars... the last book the Pythons will ever write together is coming to a bookshop near you. The Pythons: Autobiography by the Pythons will be published October 7 by St. Martin's in the U.S.

PythOnline has received exclusive permission to reveal details of the very large, frighteningly thorough, and completely unexpurgated autobiographical tome - which will ship with a list price of $60.

The Pythons Autobiography has, according to inside sources, been three years in the making and chronicles the complete history of Monty Python, in the words of the Pythons themselves.

Told without any narration at all, the book reads more like a free-flowing conversation with and between the Pythons. Similar to David Morgan's marvelous Monty Python Speaks!, the Pythons take turns recounting the many phases of their collaboration.

The book also features over 1,000 photographs and illustrations (color and black & white) dug up from the personal libraries of the Pythons, Graham Chapman's Estate, and the official Python (Monty) Pictures archives. Many of the photographs have never been published (much less seen) until now. Also included are a large number of rare magazine covers, posters, newspaper clippings, as well as legal documents and letters.


Download samples of the interviews that Bob McCabe conducted with the Pythons for the Autobiography. These excerpts were taken from the A Wafer-Thin Morsel CD given to publishers at a recent book fair.

Michael Palin and Terry Jones on recording the first Flying Circus
John Cleese on being the Minister of Silly Walks
Eric Idle on being crucified in Life of Brian

A full two-hour audio version of the book will be published this year as well.

Buy it: and

The book uses entirely new interviews with each of the Pythons, with many previously unpublished journal entries from Michael Palin as well. Graham Chapman's contributions were made via a few previously published interviews as well as more recent interviews with Graham's partner David Sherlock, and with Dr. John and Pam Chapman (Graham's brother and sister-in-law).

Everything is here, from the earliest childhood memories to their Oxbridge university years to creating the Flying Circus and the films. While this formula is nothing new to books about Monty Python, the depth and detail exhibited in the Autobiography is astounding.

The book somewhat echoes the Beatles Anthology published three years ago - not surprising, perhaps, in light of the Pythons' oft cited moniker The Beatles of Comedy. The best-selling Beatles book took a team of editors years to compile, and is considered to be the definitive Beatles book. In addition to sporting a similar-looking cover, The Pythons Autobiography is nearly the exact same length as Anthology, 360 pages.

Bob's Your Uncle

The book was edited by Bob McCabe, the British film critic and broadcaster who is perhaps best known to Python & Terry Gilliam fans as the author of the lavishly illustrated Dark Knights & Holy Fools: The Art and Films of Terry Gilliam. For the Autobiography, Bob worked exhaustively to compile the many hours of interviews he conducted personally with each of the Pythons. Look for an interview with Bob McCabe soon...

St. Martin's Press recently sent us an advance copy of the book. The book is simply breathtaking - in its scope and depth as well as the photos and illustrations. This is definitely not another rehash of the same Python anecdotes.

The book is divided into chapters, covering the Pythons' remembrances from different periods of their collaboration.

  • In Which the Pythons Meet the Pythons - each of the Pythons recall the first time they met their fellow Flying Circus castmates
  • In Which We Are Born - the Pythons describe their childhood, earliest memories, growing up, schooling, and first time acting (or acting up)
  • In Which We Pretend to Grow Up - the formative university years, the revues, and life before the Circus
  • 'It's...' - on filming the Flying Circus shows, the books, albums, and stage shows
  • In Which We All Become Starlets - all about the films and becoming world comedy icons
  • The Meaning of Death - about Graham Chapman, the days before and after his death
  • ... And Beyond - about the Aspen reunion and the lasting effects of Python

The release of the book will most likely be accompanied by a number of interviews with and public appearances by the Pythons. Stay tuned...

By the way, The Pythons Autobiography by the Pythons will ship September 22 in the U.K. (published by Orion). The book can be purchased in Europe from and at other fine book shops.