Birmingham Stage Company


21 September 2023

If you’ve ever been interested in producing a play or a film, or wanted to know what it was like to be a producer, I’d like to recommend the book I’ve just finished by Mark Forstater. Mark was the producer of Monty Python and the Holy Grail who fell out with the Pythons, until their dispute ended up in court. Mark is extremely candid throughout the book and even reproduces sections of his diary which reveal his innermost desires, insecurities, and his attempts to stabilise his mental health in the face of his unending difficulties. I was fairly gripped throughout, as he goes through what I suspect many producers go through when dealing with success, failure, friendships, professional relationships, ambitions and thwarted desires. What comes across strongly is his vulnerability in the face of all the ‘slings and arrows’ that he encounters in the course of the dispute. My adoration of the Pythons means it’s also a fascinating account of one man’s relationship with this extraordinary team. In fact, only last week I enjoyed an evening with Michael Palin in aid of Age UK. I might have had a question for him if I had read this book beforehand!   

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