Episodes from an old comedy series that have been missing for decades have been found that star John Cleese and Graham Chapman, who went on to become famous as members of the Monty Python comedy troupe.
Radio Times reports that the two episodes of “At Last the 1948 Show,” a sketch comedy series from the 1960s that was a forerunner of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus,” were discovered in the archives of the late Sir David Frost.
The British Film Institute announced the discovery and said the episodes will air for the first time since 1967.
“The discovery is being dubbed a major find for fans of the early flowering of surreal British television comedy, which led to the creation of the Monty Python programs two years after the series aired. ‘At Last the 1948 Show’ is famous for containing the first use of the phrase ‘And now for something completely different’ which became a Python catchphrase and for showcasing the first outing of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch,” the story reports.
The episodes are on two reels of 16mm film and hadn’t been seen since they originally aired in 1967. Of the show’s 13 episodes, more than nine episodes of material is now held by the British Film Institute, including the two newly discovered episodes, the report notes.
Dick Fiddy, the British Film Institute’s television consultant, said: “This latest recovery is a crucial find. It represents a key moment in the history of British television comedy featuring the combined talents of some of its greatest exponents. These gifted comedians, all in their 20s and 30s, were let off the leash and allowed to experiment with style and content, resulting in shows which have had an enduring influence on comedy worldwide.”
Here’s an example of “At Last the 1948 Show” — not from the newly discovered episodes: