Remembered primarily for directing and producing the Monty Python film And Now for Something Completely Different (1971) and the vast majority of the episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus (1969-1974), he won a 1973 BAFTA Award and was nominated for a 1976 Primetime Emmy Award.
Before beginning his directing and producing careers, he briefly studied medicine and also served in the Royal Marines. In addition, he pursued a career as a stage actor, performing with both the Edinburgh Gateway Theatre and the Glasgow Citizens Theatre.
He played small roles in several films and television series, including the science fiction movie X the Unknown and the comedy series Hancock's Half Hour.
He spent his youth in Glasgow and Perthshire, Scotland.
McNaughton was the producer and director of the first season of Spike Milligan's surreal comedy program Q.