Terry Jones

Terry Jones

Last updated: 07 October 2009

It's difficult to think of a more internationally-renowned and influential comedy than Monty Python's Flying Circus. In the Sixties, Terry Jones and his colleagues broke down boundaries in a way that no-one has since done.

Terry Jones was born Terence Graham Parry Jones in Colwyn Bay, on 1 February 1942. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford, and read English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford. During his time at Oxford he performed comedy with Michael Palin, among others, in The Oxford Revue.

His comedy writing career began for real with The Frost Report, but in 1967 Jones, with colleagues including Michael Palin, Graeme Garden and Bill Oddie, got his television break with the BBC sketch show Twice A Fortnight. Although a hit-and-miss affair, it laid the groundwork for both Monty Python and The Goodies.

Jones and Palin performed many sketches together as a pair in Twice A Fortnight, and continued their partnership writing The Complete And Utter History Of Britain on the BBC (1969), and appearances in Do Not Adjust Your Set on ITV from 1967.

But of course it was Python which broke Jones and his colleagues internationally. First broadcast in October 1969, it ran for four series and 45 episodes, and spawned three spin-off films.

Jones' talents on the screen were obvious, with his portrayals of women becoming quickly known as audience favourites. It was a theme he returned to in the films, with roles as Brian's mother in Life Of Brian and a rampantly fertile working class northern mother in The Meaning Of Life.

Jones' talents, already known as a writer, extended into directing with the Monty Python movies (he co-directed with Terry Gilliam) Erik The Viking and The Wind In The Willows.

Post-Python, Jones' comedy writing continued with Ripping Yarns, with Michael Palin. But in recent years, his children's books and television presenting has taken precedence.

In September 2009 Jones became a father for the third time at the age of 67.

The team behind Python were set to receive a special Bafta honouring their outstanding contribution to film and television in October 2009, 40 years after the first screening of Monty Python's Flying Circus.


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