Monty Python's final performance will be broadcast live to more than 2,000 cinemas and on TV in more than 100 countries, including Yemen and Afghanistan.

The performance will be shown live at 570 Irish and UK cinemas and in a further 1,800 venues in 39 countries around the world. It will also be broadcast live in more than 100 countries on TV. UK comedy channel Gold will broadcast the last night of Monty Python's 10-night run live.

The five surviving Pythons - Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam - begin their shows tonight (July 1) at London's O2. They will deliver what is best described as a theatre and rock concert hybrid, with dancers and a full orchestra.

Mick Jagger, in a video message yesterday, wound the boys up with the following: “They’re still going? Who wants to see that again? It was funny in the Sixties, but . . . ” 70-year-old Jagger called them “wrinkly old men trying to relive their youth.”

"It is a world event and that's really quite exciting," said Eric Idle at yesterday’s London press conference, speaking of the last show on July 20.

"It means we're actually going to say goodbye publicly on one show. Nobody ever has the chance to do that, the Beatles didn't get a last good night."

"The one on the 20th really is the last show and I think we all feel very content with that, “ said John Cleese. “We weren't sure at one stage, I certainly felt it might be fun to go and do America but the more I thought about it, I thought: 'I don't really want to.' It's much better to try and do it once really well in England, where it started, and let's leave it at that."

While there will be no new sketches, situations will be re-imagined and cameos from Stephen Hawking and Professor Brian Cox are promised. "It would be folly to try and write better things than are there," said Idle.