Ahem. This is a transcript of a letter I discovered on a lovely site called Letters of Note. It concerns the exchanges between the team that made Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the British Board of Film Censorship.
PYTHON (MONTY) PICTURES LTD
Registered Address: 20 Fitzroy Square, London W1P6BB
Registered Number 1138069 England
August 5th, 1974.
The Censor’s representative, Tony Kerpel, came along to Friday’s screening at Twickenham and he gave us his opinion of the film’s probable certificate.
He thinks the film will be AA, but it would be possible, given some dialogue cuts, to make the film an A rating, which would increase the audience. (AA is 14 and over, and A is 5 – 14).
For an ‘A’ we would have to:
Lose as many shits as possible
Take Jesus Christ out, if possible
Lose “I fart in your general direction”
Lose “the oral sex”
Lose “oh, fuck off”
Lose “We make castanets out of your testicles”
I would like to get back to the Censor and agree to lose the shits, take the odd Jesus Christ out and lose Oh fuck off, but to retain “fart in your general direction”, “castanets of your testicles” and “oral sex” and ask him for an ‘A’ rating on that basis.
Please let me know as soon as possible your attitude to this.
A photograph of the original can be found here.
I’m reminded of that other great letter — from Groucho Marx to the Legal Department of Warner Brothers.