MONTY PYTHON star Terry Jones insists the BBC "hated" the surreal comedy series when it was first presented to them, and nearly scrapped the show altogether.

Jones broke the shocking revelation while accepting a ROSE D'OR honour on behalf of the hit 1960s series at the ceremony at icy Mount Titlis, Switzerland.

The 62-year-old comedy veteran embarrassed BBC executives who were also present at the event by explaining if he had not smuggled the tapes out of the BBC, they risked being trashed.

He says, "They put us on very reluctantly and always took us off air for something like Horse Of The Year Show.

"The head of comedy said it just wasn't that funny. The shows nearly got wiped."

Meanwhile, hopes have been dashed for a Python reunion onstage in ERIC IDLE's musical SPAMALOT - which has proved a smash hit on New York's Broadway - as the majority of the stars fear they may be too old for the venture.

Jones adds, "Eric said we should exploit the potential for Python but MICHAEL (PALIN) didn't want to.

"He thought it would look a bit sad, like having a lot of elderly gentlemen on stage."

06/05/2005 14:10