Once Banned, Monty Python Flick Returns To Town Life of Brian was banned 30 years ago in the Welsh town of Aberystwyth because church leaders thought it was blasphemous. The town's mayor played a role in getting the film to be screened for the first time later this month, but that's not the only role she's played.
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Once Banned, Monty Python Flick Returns To Town

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Once Banned, Monty Python Flick Returns To Town

Once Banned, Monty Python Flick Returns To Town

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LIANE HANSEN, host:

There are laws on the books that rarely are enforced. In 1979, the Welsh town of Aberystwyth banned the showing of Monty Python's "Life of Brian," the zany British troupe's film satire of the life of Jesus and many other things sacred. The law has since expired. So later this month, the movie will be screened for the first time in that town.

Sue Jones-Davies is the mayor of Aberystwyth. She's in the studios of the BBC. Welcome to the program.

Ms. SUE JONES-DAVIES (Mayor, Aberystwyth, Wales): My pleasure.

HANSEN: Do you know the film?

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: Well, I do, because I'm in it.

HANSEN: You are?

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: Yes, I played Brian's girlfriend in it.

HANSEN: You're kidding.

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: No, I played Judith Iscariot.

HANSEN: So this ban, since the film was released in '79, you knew nothing about this, or you didn't participate in this ban.

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: Well, I became mayor. After about a month or so, somebody contacted me from the BBC and said did I know it had been banned in Aberystwyth, and I didn't. And we did a bit of research and in the archive material that we found, there was nothing specific. So we sort of took it that it had been banned because, at the time, it would've been, you know, Aberystwyth had a lot of chapels and churches fall 30 years ago. And I would imagine, as in my hometown in Fishguard banned it, you know.

HANSEN: Oh.

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: Due to the blasphemy and nudity. So it seemed perfectly plausible that it would've been.

HANSEN: Now, I said that the law expired. Did it really or did you, as a cast member, come and lift it?

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: No, I didn't lift it. It just - we've, as I say, it sort of faded away. Whatever ban there ever had been, over time, has just dissolved. And we thought it might be a nice gesture before I finish my year of office to have it on. And it's also the 30 years since the film was made. It's a sort of anniversary for the film. And it's all come together really well. And we're going to be showing it on the 28th of March. And it's going to be a good night.

HANSEN: You're going to have glamour and pizzazz because two original cast members, Terry Jones and Michael Palin, are going to be there.

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: We're going to have a nice champagne reception, show the film and afterwards, questions and answers. Beyond that I don't know yet.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: People in town excited, though.

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: Well, yes. It's really generated a lot of interest, which, you know, it's nice to put us on the map. You know, it has a lot to draw people to it.

HANSEN: Sue Jones-Davies is the mayor of Aberystwyth in Wales. Later this month, Monty Python's "Life of Brian" will be shown for the first time since the film was released in 1979. Thanks, madam mayor. And you know what? Always look on the bright side of life.

Ms. JONES-DAVIES: I will do that.

(Sound bite of song, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life")

Mr. ERIC IDLE (Actor): (as Crucifee) (Singing) Always look on the bright side of life.

(Soundbite of whistling)

Mr. IDLE: (Singing) Always look on the light side of life.

(Soundbite of whistling)

Mr. IDLE: (Singing) If life seems jolly rotten, there's something you've forgotten.

HANSEN: This is NPR News.

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