❉ The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in Wales, BAFTA Cymru, has announced that the BAFTA Special Award for Outstanding Contribution to Film and Television will be presented to Terry Jones at the 25th BAFTA Cymru Awards.
“Do you know, I’ve been so lucky in my career? I’ve just been so lucky!” – Terry Jones
Best known as one of the Pythons, Terry Jones, was born in Colwyn Bay and has gone on to write and direct drama, present documentaries, compose operas and write short stories.
There’s some sad news for Terry Jones fans in this BAFTA statement…
A representative for Terry Jones commented on the award, and on Terry’s recent ill health: “Terry has been diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a variant of Frontotemporal Dementia. This illness affects his ability to communicate and he is no longer able to give interviews. Terry is proud and honoured to be recognised in this way and is looking forward to the celebrations.”
As well as having written and performed in all 45 episodes of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-1974), Terry Jones’ credits include writing and directing the films ‘Monty Python and the Holy Grail’ (With Terry Gilliam, 1975), ‘Monty Python’s Life Of Brian’ (1979), ‘Monty Python’s The Meaning Of Life’ (1983), ‘Personal Services’ (1987), ‘Erik The Viking’ (1989), ‘Wind In The Willows’ (1996) and ‘Absolutely Anything’ (2015).
Other film credits include the screenplay of the much-loved fantasy musical ‘Labyrinth’ (1986), directed by Jim Henson, produced by George Lucas and starring David Bowie.
A noted historian and scholar, he has written two academically acclaimed books about Medieval writer Geoffrey Chaucer, and written and presented a number of historical documentary serials including ‘And God Blew’, ‘So This Is Progress?’, ‘Terry Jones’ Crusades’, ‘Terry Jones’ Ancient Inventions’, ‘Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives’, ‘Terry Jones’ Barbarians’, and ‘Terry Jones’ Great Map Mystery’.
Earlier this year, Jones presented the economics documentary ‘Boom Bust Boom’, co-written by Jones and veteran economist and entrepreneur Theo Kocken. A Bill And Ben Production, it incorporated puppetry by filmmakers Jonny & Will and animation by Arthur Cox and Moth Collective.
Terry Jones also co-created the cult comedy series ‘Ripping Yarns’ (1976-1979), in collaboration with his lifelong friend and writing partner, Michael Palin.
In a previously unpublished 2012 interview with We Are Cult’s James Gent, Jones reflected on his career: “Do you know, I’ve been so lucky in my career? I’ve just been so lucky!” and recalled how he conceived the ‘stream of consciousness’ approach that defined Monty Python’s Flying Circus:
I was desperate to think of some new format for the show that would make it distinctive. Then as I was walking up the stairs at my old home, I suddenly remembered Terry Gilliam’s animation of ‘Elephants’ for ‘Do Not Adjust Your Set’. How Terry had said it was just a chain of consciousness…and I suddenly thought we could link the sketches together with Terry’s animation.
So I rang Mike and Terry and they liked the idea. But when we presented it to the others, they were less interested. I remember John saying that the main thing was to have funny material and that’s all that counts, or something to that effect. So that’s why the first series takes time to strike its form. It was just that half the Pythons weren’t interested in the flow of the show. I think by the end of the first series they’d realised the advantages!
I guess we were experimenting with comedy. We were sometimes a bit disappointed with the reaction in the studio but reassured when the programmes went out.
In 2011, crowdfunded publishing startup, Unbound, was launched with its first title, Terry Jones’ short story collection ‘Evil Machines’. Five years on, he has returned to Unbound with ‘The Tyrant and the Squire’, a historical adventure. You can pledge towards it via the following link: