Friday 27 December 2013

Monty Python Live, Monty Python Dating, and me.

Monty Python Live!

I seem to have become the unofficial unpaid spokesperson for Monty Python!

If you're a Monty Python fan and single, join my Monty Python  the Pythonesque Dating Facebook Group!

To recap, I won the BFI's Monty Python competition - part of the London Film Festival 2012 - which was promoting Graham Chapman's "A Liar's Autobiography". Ever since then, according to the media, I am the biggest Monty Python fan.. period.

The Sun
Then the Monty Python Live O2 shows were announced, and the media came after me! I was interviewed by six BBC radio stations, including BBC Radio 2 (The Jeremy Vine Show), as well as the Scottish Sunday newspaper, The Scotman, and my local newspaper, The East Grinstead Courier.

The Sun
Because of all the hype now whipped up by the Pythons, I then decided that it was the right time to launch my Monty Python the Pythonesque Dating Facebook Group. I've always felt that a healthy interest in Monthy Python is an excellent basis for a happy relationship. (So why did I marry someone who hated Monty Python back in 1995 then? Don't ask... The marriage lasted nearly 15 years. That's not bad, considering!)

The Sunday People 
Look at all the Monty Python media I've been part of to date!

  • John named No 1 Monty Python fan | East Grinstead Courier & Observer
  • Lonely Monty Python fan looking on bright side of life in quest for love | Metro News
  • Insight: Can Monty Python recapture the magic? - The Scotsman
  • Monty Python's biggest fan takes his silly walk to East Grinstead streets | East Grinstead Courier & Observer
  • Dating group for Monty Python fans | The Sun |Showbiz
  • The Sunday People (print version only)
  • ▶ On BBC Sussex Radio talking about the Monty Python reunion 25 Nov 2013 - YouTube
  • ▶ On BBC Surrey Radio talking about the Monty Python reunion 25 Nov 2013 - YouTube
  • ▶ On BBC West Midlands talking about the Monty Python reunion 25 Nov 2013 - YouTube
  • ▶ On BBC 5 Live talking about the Monty Python Reunion 19 Nov 13 - YouTube
  • ▶ On the Jeremy Vine Show talking about the Monty Python Reunion 20 Nov 13 - YouTube
  • ▶ On BBC Gloucestershire talking about the Monty Python Reunion 20 Nov 13 - YouTube

John Wood at the BBC Kent studio
That's six articles and six radio interviews. Four of the articles were about the Facebook Dating Group I recently set up:

If you're a fan and single, join us!

Thursday 14 November 2013

Belsen liberator, Leonard Berney, takes part in landmark Belsen documentary "Night Will Fall"

Leonard Berney, second from right
Those involved in the original production included
Alfred Hitchcock!

Leonard Berney was interviewed in Haifa, Israel earlier today about the part he played in the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. Then a Major in the British Army and only 25 years of age, he was one of the first of the allied troops through the gates of Bergen-Belsen on 15 April 1945.

"Night Will Fall", a feature-length documentary, produced by Spring Films in association with Angel TV and the Imperial War Museum will be released in 2014.


In the spring of 1945, Allied forces liberating Europe found evidence of atrocities which have tortured the world’s conscience ever since. As the troops entered the German concentration camps, they made a systematic film record of what they saw. Work began on a documentary to show the horror they witnessed to the German population.

Sidney Bernstein, chief of the Psychological Warfare Film Section of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) commissioned the film. Those involved in the production included Alfred Hitchcock and renowned editor Stewart McAllister; they produced perhaps the most remarkable testament of the 20th Century. “No German can say he didn’t know” insists the commentary, co-written by Richard Crossman, the future cabinet minister.

These sentiments were judged by the British Government to be unsuitable to the bridge-building mood towards Germany. The film was never shown.

40 years later an American researcher found a rusty can marked “F3080” in the vaults of London’s Imperial War Museum. It was in very poor condition and the last roll was missing, but in 1985 a scratched and blurry copy was shown on PBS in America. Now after three years of work by Dr Toby Haggith of the Imperial War Museum, the entire film has been fully restored and piece by piece, frame by frame, the lost last reel has been put together from the original shot lists. For the first time in history the completed “F3080” is ready to be shown.

Spring Films in association with Angel TV and the Imperial War Museum is producing a 90” documentary for theatrical and television release. This documentary, ‘Night Will Fall’ is to coincide with the release of the remastered original film and will tell the remarkable story behind the making of the film, the people involved and the reasons why it was never shown.

Spring Films is an award-winning, London-based production company specialising in international co-productions and high-end documentaries for television, cinema, DVD, IMAX and multi-media platforms

For more information, please visit:

Monday 4 November 2013

Bergen-Belsen Liberator, Leonard Berney, Available for Interview in Israel

Leonard Berney's interview by London ITV News on the
68th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen

To all members of the Israeli Media and any other interested parties,

My father, Leonard Berney, now aged 93, was one of the first of the Allied troops through the gates of Belsenin April 1945. Major Berney (as he was then), aged 25, stayed on to run theBelsen Camp for Displaced Persons for 3 months after its liberation. He also gave evidence at the Belsen War Crimes trial.

Here is his personal account:

and here is a TV news interview with him, filmed on the 68th anniversary of Belsen's liberation:

He will be visiting Haifa from 12 to 17 November and is available for interview. His purpose is to counteract the ridiculous claims made by Holocaust deniers and to make sure young people today really know what happened, in the hope that it might prevent such atrocities from ever happening again.

Please contact me if you'd like any more information or if you would like to interview my father.

Best regards,

John Wood
+44 (0)1342 323750
+44 (0)777 152 0001

Friday 25 October 2013

Alter Bridge Set the Record for the Most Tickets Sold in a General Admission Configuration at Wembley Arena

Alter Bridge: White Knuckles. I had a really good seat!

Not only was Alter Bridge's "Fortress" concert on 18 Oct 2013 sold out, it also set the record for the most tickets sold in a general admission configuration at Wembley Arena. It goes without saying that the concert was fabulous. Alter Bridge are on an unstoppable ride to supergroup status! 

FYI, Alter Bridge are managed by Paul Geary Management who also look after Steel PantherKings of ChaosHoobastank, Creed, Myles Kennedy, Mark Tremonti and Jason Bonham.

Alter Bridge: Addicted to Pain Live at Wembley Arena 18 Oct 2013

Harry Wood, John Wood and Steve Wood in the Wembley Arena backstage bar after the show

Time Lapse of Shinedown, Halestorm and Alter Bridge at Wembley Arena 18 Oct 2013

"Wow. I received a UK silver disc award from Roadrunner Records for Alter Bridge's AB3," Steve Wood (centre), Alter Bridge's manager and my big brother. Proud of you Steve!

Alter Bridge: Blackbird Live at Wembley Arena 18 Oct 2013. Dedicated to Kerrang photographer, Ashley Maile, who had photographed Alter Bridge many times. He sadly passed away recently, aged only 36.

Alter Bridge: White Knuckles Live at Wembley Arena 2013

Sunday 8 September 2013

John Cleese: Art for Alimony

The John Cleese Art Collection at the Chris Beetles Gallery, London
John Cleese and John Wood: I finally got a photo with JC, the almighty!
John Cleese, Eric Idle, Sir Trevor Nunn and Prof Brian Cox arrive

Thanks to art lover and Python fan, Chris Butcher, my name was put on the guest list for this event that took place on Tues 3 Sept 2013, together with Python fans Alexandra Weid and Lolly Taylor-Archer. Actually, it turned out that there was, in fact, no guest list (anyone could just walk in - if it wasn't so packed that is) which was a bit surprising, since free champagne was flowing all night.

John Cleese was selling off 110 items of his art collection to raise funds towards his alimony payments to his ex-wife, Alyce Faye Eichelberger, at the Chris Beetles Gallery in Ryder Street, London, SW1. From Wikipedia: "The divorce settlement left Eichelberger with £12 million in finance and assets, including £600,000 a year for seven years. Cleese stated that "What I find so unfair is that if we both died today, her children would get much more than mine"."

The place was absolutely packed (there were 400 of us, says the Daily Mail), and there were so many celebs in the crowd! Here are those I recognised, but there were many faces I'd seen on the telly but I couldn't figure out who they were:
Eric Idle (a very pleasant surprise), Prof Brian Cox, Sir Tim Rice, Sir Trevor Nunn, Anthony Andrews, Terence Conoley and Jeffrey Archer.
The wives of the late Peter Cook and Michael Winner were also present.

Chris Beetles, owner of the art gallery, introduced John Cleese who talked a little bit about his recently departed friends, Sir David Frost and Michael Winner, and he then pointed out various items in the collection and told us the stories behind them and how he came to own them.

Afterwards, he signed autographs for ages, and I managed to get a photo with him, finally! I had met John Cleese before, at the Secret Policeman's Biggest Ball back in 1989, when I asked him what this Neville Shunte/Gavin Millarrrrrrrr Python sketch was all about, and he explained it to me.

Press coverage: 
  1. Fashion Magazine 247:John Cleese and Eric Idle Reunite which Eric Idle tweeted about here: "John Wood sent me this, John Cleese and me, at Johns art sale, enjoying a joke about the Daily Mail..."
  2. Daily Mail: Now John Cleese sells off art memories to pay for divorce from third wife
  3. Daily Mail: Donna Air misses out on Pippa's birthday bash: Ditched 'sister-in-law's' 30th for jewellery party down the road
  4. Daily Mail: RICHARD KAY: I won't be Prince George's godfather, says Guy Pelly
  5. Daily Telegraph: Monty Python star John Cleese finds that his taste in art changes with his wives
  6. Daily Express: Fawlty times for John Cleese
John Cleese with 94-year old actor Terence Conoley who appeared in Fawlty Towers
Terence Conoley played Mr Johnstone in "The Waldorf Salad" (1:02) and Mr Wareing in "A Touch of Class" (4:00 and the closing seconds)
Sir Trevor Nunn
Sir Trevor Nunn and John Cleese were at Cambridge together
Sir Trevor Nunn told me he introduced John Cleese to Graham Chapman at Cambridge!
Jennifer Wade, John Cleese, Sir Trevor Nunn
Jennifer Wade, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Brian Cox
John Cleese and Eric Idle

Here's the front view of this shot (not taken by me)
A Double Whammy!
Sir Tim Rice
Chris Beetles introduces John Cleese

John Cleese signed a lot of autographs that day!

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Michael Palin appears as God in Spamalot in aid of his charity Action for Stammering Children

How exciting it was to see Spamalot again (my 13th time), knowing that Michael Palin himself was going to walk on stage at the end of the show during the curtain call.

The last time I saw Spamalot was on opening night at The Playhouse Theatre, last November with Stephen Tomkinson as King Arthur, Anna-Jane Casey as the Lady of the Lake, Todd Carty as Patsy and Graham MacDuff as Sir Lancelot.

Last night, Les Dennis, the current King Arthur did a splendid job in the part and he even sends himself up at one point in the show! And Michael Burgen makes an excellent Patsy.

The others (Bonnie Langford as Lady of the Lake and Kit Orton as Sir Lancelot) I had seen perform previously when the show was at the Harold Pinter Theatre. They are both amazing and extremely funny!

A very clever PR person (who deserves a pay rise) - or was it Eric Idle? - came up with the idea of getting stars to play God in the show for a week each, in aid of their chosen charities. Michael Palin's charity is Action for Stammering Children aka The Michael Palin Centre for Stammering Children, for which his performance in the show will raise awareness and funds.

In his totally heartfelt speech (before the all-cast finale rendition of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, with Michael in the centre of the chorus line and holding hands with Les Dennis and Bonnie Langford), he said that his father suffered from a terrible stammer and how different his life would have been if Action for Stammering Children had been around in his day. He said that he found it so moving how the charity helps the children overcome their stammer, that his support of the charity is what he is most proud of.

I went with a group of Python fans (we almost all met each other for the first time at the show!) and, needless to say, we all had a fantastic time!

More photos here:

With special thanks to Boom Ents

PS I want you to know that the Playhouse Theatre has very comfy seats and nice clean loos! It's a delightful place!