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A&E Blog

"Brian" Turns 30

by Scott Renshaw
- Posted // 2009-08-17 -

Birthday wishes are in order for Monty Python's alternate "messiah." If he were Jesus, he'd be starting his ministry right about now.

Of course, that's exactly the sort of sacrilegious notion that made Monty Python's Life of Brian a scandalous sensation when it premiered 30 years ago today. Graham Chapman played Brian, the clueless lad in 1st century Judea who gets caught up in plots against the Roman Empire, stonings and schisms. And plenty of people were not amused. Several countries andcitieseither banned the film for blasphemy or refused to grant a certification for some period of time, including Norway, Italy, Ireland and Glasgow, Scotland.

Unfortunately, one of the more amusing censorship stories turns out to be at least somewhat exaggerated. The Welsh town of Aberytwyth reportedly had banned Life of Brian up until this year, when the newly-elected mayor supported withdrawing the ban -- and that newly-elected mayor, Sue Jones-Davies, happened to have been the actor who played Brian's girlfriend in the film. But upon further review by a local university student, it turned out that Life of Brian had, in fact, played in Aberyswyth for a week in March 1981. Seems that even a fake comedy messiah can be wrapped in myth and misinterpretation.

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