I would like to retain ‘fart in your general direction’

In August of 1974, eight months prior to its cinema release, a preview screening of Monty Python and the Holy Grail—a painfully funny parody of the legend of King Arthur and the Python team’s second feature film—was attended by a member of the British Board of Film Classification, Tony Kerpel, who was there to offer some feedback in relation to its eventual rating. After the credits had rolled, an informal chat took place between Kerpel and one of the film’s producers, Mark Forstater, which resulted in this highly amusing letter being sent to fellow producer Michael White a few days later—its subject: dialogue cuts.

A joy to behold, and a welcome reminder of this far cruder effort from Matt Stone on the subject of South Park.

Transcript follows.

(Source: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (Book), via Jason Permenter; Image above via.)


Registered Address: 20 Fitzroy Square, London W1P6BB
Registered Number 1138069 England

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