Pythons rule out wider world tour

This Is Lancashire: Monty Python said they had "reluctantly decided" that their July 20 gig at the O2 in London will "probably be their last live performance together" Monty Python said they had "reluctantly decided" that their July 20 gig at the O2 in London will "probably be their last live performance together"

Fans of Monty Python will be left disappointed after the comics said their reunion concerts will not lead to a wider world tour.

The remaining members of the cult comedy troupe - John Cleese, Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones - said they had " reluctantly decided" that their July 20 gig at the O2 in London will " probably be their last live performance together".

A statement released by their publicist said: "The Pythons had hoped to take up some of the many offers to perform at arenas all over the world, but individual commitments to other projects over the next three years has made this impossible."

But it promised the O2 shows would be "a dazzling spectacle featuring all of the favourite sketches, musicians, dancers, with set and lights by the creative team behind the London Olympic closing ceremony" and a "spectacular celebration" of their careers.

Palin has joked that preparations for the live shows were not going so well.

Asked how the live show arrangements were coming along, he said: "Oh disastrous, disastrous, we're still trying to outdo each other with costumes, who's going to get the best tights and all that.

"We start doing intensive rehearsal mid June. We know the stuff fairly well, it's just we've got to practise getting our trousers on and off between sketches which takes longer than you think when you're over 70."

On who was most likely to throw a strop with diva demands, Palin, 70, said: "Probably me, I've always wanted to be a diva. I shall try and be a diva. I'm far too accommodating, that's the problem, so it might have to be Cleese... as usual."

He also shared which of the sketches he was most looking forward to performing.

"We're doing the Spanish Inquisition on stage for the first time. I've never actually done that on stage. It's very outgoing and always jolly and I think it'll be interesting to see how that goes. I'm looking forward to it and I wear a lovely red frock," he revealed.

Tickets for the final show - one of 10 planned for the London venue - go on sale at noon today (April 4).

The gigs come more than 30 years after th eir last stage performance.

The veteran comedy troupe announced their comeback in November and promised the return of some of their most famous routines, including a likely performance of the dead parrot sketch, but Cleese has ruled out a re-run of one of his best loved moments, the Ministry of Silly Walks.

"I have an artificial knee and an artificial hip so there's no chance of that," he said.

Idle said: "I think you can expect a little comedy, a lot of pathos, some music and a tiny bit of ancient sex."

The Pythons, whose last major live show was at the Hollywood Bowl in 1982, amassed millions of fans for their groundbreaking, anarchic comedy series and films, which also launched their own successful solo careers.

Monty Python's Flying Circus was made for TV between 1969 and 1974 and generations of fans can recite lines and whole sketches. The team went on to make films including Monty Python And The Holy Grail (1975) and Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979).

Sixth Python Graham Chapman died of cancer in 1989 aged just 48, and nine years later the five remaining members shared a stage at the Aspen Comedy Festival in the US.

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