08/09/2009 Visit Colin Richardson's blog on Typepad http://colinrichardsonjazz.typepad.com/blog/
Monty Python's First Ever Live Performance - Belgrade Theatre, Coventry 1971 as part of the Lanchester Arts Festival.
'Live' Python found at Belgrade Theatre, Coventry!
By Colin Richardson
1971 Lanchester Arts Festival included many well-known artistes on the 10 day programme of events,
How did a modest little Polytechnic in Coventry come to be favoured with such a prime coup? Here's how it happened.
I had been the Festival's booking consultant in 1970, working closely with Ted Little, the student organiser. We made a good team, as he was always open to my ideas and suggestions, though quite firm of mind when it came to final decisions as to which act was chosen. I guess he must have been pleased with my contribution, as he retained my services for the following year.
At some point during the planning, he asked if it would be possible to book one or two of the Monty
In something of a daze, I promised to get back to him asap and left to find a phone to call Ted Little and
Needless to say, the shows were a fantastic success, the student audience a proven fan base who already knew most of the sketches, not that this in any way diminished their noisy enjoyment of them. I recall that,on the first night, the entire front row was wearing 'Gumby' style knotted handkerchiefs...to the astonishment of the first Pythons onstage. An interesting coda to this story is that, a couple of weeks before the premiere, I received a phone call from the plummy-voiced P.A. of an illustrious music biz heavyweight (no names, no pack-drill!) who, after ascertaining that I was, indeed, the person responsible for this 'showbiz' coup, informed me that Mr. ******** would 'like a box, for the first night' ! After a deep breath and summoning
From Comment from Chris Applebey via Facebook
" One of the most memorable weeks of my life! I was a reporter for the Nuneaton Observer and had press tickets for all events. The stand out moments for me were Elton John's performance in the Lanch Hall - he'd just switched from the Burn Down the Mission style stuff to the screaming up and down on top of his piano bit - and then his dressing room afterwards where he was very kind to my, then 17 year old, sister Sue. He was a sweetie to her. The same week I saw Monty Python's first live show at the Belgrade. I was in a press box, right next to the stage and Cleese stood in front of me, glaring and shouting "Albatross! Albatross! Gannet on a stick! Tern ripple." I was crying with laughter as he just stood po-faced in usherette uniform as I clung to the balcony legless with laughter. I interviewed him afterwards, I am tiny and he's huge and I was very star-struck and young. All I can remember was him saying how great it was to see so many people had come such a long way to see them, from somewhere up north, all dressed as "Gumby". It was an incredible coup for the Lanch to get so many big names that year, who were just hitting the big wave of their careers. I guess free tickets made it a very good deal. On the price of tickets, I remember seeing in the Sheffield newspaper (I was on a course there as part of my journalism training) that Marc Bolan was refusing to perform if venues charged more than a pound for tickets. Good for him."
|The Gay Gannet, Broadgate, Coventry early 70's|
In Michael Palin's Diary, he recalls the 1st ever Live performance of Monty Python's Flying Circus at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry under Sunday January 31st 1971 in these sample pages of the diary on Google Books. HERE
He recalls their surprise to the response to their performance with over 1000 people in attendance. The next morning (Feb 1st,) having stayed at the Hotel Leofric in Broadgate, he describes how the went across Broadgate island to a cafe called 'unbelievably' The Gay Gannet' for breakfast!
Colin's story was covered by BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio in October 2009
Monty Python at the Belgrade Theatre - BBC Coventry Report
BBC RADIO COVENTRY COVER THE COLIN RICHARDSON MONTY PYTHON STORY
This is the link to the BBC Coventry page following Colin Richardson's broadcast along with David Partridge who was in the audience at the Belgrade. It was featured on the Annie Othen show.
You can listen to the broadcast with Annie, Colin and David here.
|The Monty Python team|
Hannah Tobin of BBC Radio Coventry and Warwickshire got in contact with Colin Richardson after Hobo had
uploaded an interview with Colin, part of which dealt with he's scoop of bringing the Monty Python team to the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry for the first ever live performance in 1971. Colin and also David Partridge (who was in the audience) were interviewed on BBC Coventry Tuesday October 20th 2009 on the Annie Othen show.Thanks to Rosie King at the BBC for allowing us to relay the interview on the site.
|Colin Richardson with Paul McCartney at Abbey Road.|