Comic genius meets medieval megalomania

23 Mar 2009 14:37:00.000

PA 79/09

Was Richard II mad or simply misunderstood? The multi-talented Terry Jones, director, historian, writer, actor and founder member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus will come to his defence in a public lecture at The University of Nottingham.

The lecture, which is open to the public, will take place between 6pm to 7pm on Thursday March 26 2009 in the Law and Social Sciences Lecture Theatre B63 on University Park.

Terry Jones is best known as a member of the Monty Python comedy team and for presenting television documentaries on medieval and ancient history. As an author he has written books including 'Barbarians', 'Who Murdered Chaucer?', as well as children's books, 'Fairy Tales and Fantastic Stories' and 'Erik the Viking'.

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For 600 years historians have been discussing the weaknesses of King Richard's character: his vanity, his superstitious nature, his capacity for self-delusion, his vindictiveness, his duplicity, his disregard for his subjects, his favouritism, his self-indulgence, his reliance on bad counsel, his lack of manliness, his fickleness, his introspection, his coldness and lack of social skills, his insecurity, his paranoia, his insanity and, of course, his megalomania.


But Richard, for his part, certainly didn't see himself as a tyrant. In fact he offered himself up as a champion and defender of people against tyranny. Terry Jones will attempt to restore his reputation and fight his cause describing the medieval king as a victim of spin.


Terry Jones teamed up with Michael Palin, Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam in 1969 to create the cult TV show Monty Python. He subsequently directed Monty Python and the Holy Grail, The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life, as well as other non-Python films. Since then he has also written books and presented historical television programmes.


After the lecture Terry Jones will hold a book signing from 7pm to 8pm. 'Fairy Tales and Fantastic Stories', 'Barbarians', 'Who Murdered Chaucer?' and 'Medieval Lives', as well as 'The Pythons' Autobiography' and 'A Pocketful of Python', will be available to purchase in the foyer before and after the event on special offer.


No tickets are required and admission is free so please arrive early as places are limited.


For enquiries please contact


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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.


More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.


The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's "only truly global university", it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.


Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives ( in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.

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More information is available from Events and Sponsorship Officer Jill Miles in the Graduate School on +44 (0)115 846 7243,

Lindsay Brooke

Lindsay Brooke - Media Relations Manager

Email: Phone: +44 (0)115 951 5751 Location: University Park

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