As the story goes, months before the release of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Tony Kerpel (part of some British oversight board) attended a screening resulting in a conversation with producer Mark Forstater, which then prompted this memo to one of the other producers, Michael White, which we can presume was a summary of Kerpel’s recommendations.  Enjoy.

Oh, and the letter can be found in the Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Book).

If you’re having trouble reading it:

August 5th, 1974.

Dear Mike,

The Censor’s representative, Tony Kerpel, came along to Friday’s screening at Twickenham and he gave us his opinion of the film’s probable certificate.

He thinks the film will be AA, but it would be possible, given some dialogue cuts, to make the film an A rating, which would increase the audience. (AA is 14 and over, and A is 5 – 14).

For an ‘A‘ we would have to:

Lose as many shits as possible
Take Jesus Christ out, if possible
Lose “I fart in your general direction”
Lose “the oral sex
Lose “oh, fuck off”
Lose “We make castanets out of your testicles”

I would like to get back to the Censor and agree to lose the shits, take the odd Jesus Christ out and lose Oh fuck off, but to retain ‘fart in your general direction’, ‘castanets of your testicles’ and ‘oral sex’ and ask him for an ‘A’ rating on that basis.

Please let me know as soon as possible your attitude to this.

Yours sincerely,


Mark Forstater