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Five Absolute Classic Monty Python Sketches

Five Absolute Classic Monty Python Sketches

Monty Python’s Flying Circus

Monty Python’s Flying Circus was a British TV comedy sketch show that was broadcast on the BBC between 1969 and 1974. The much-loved surreal comedy series was largely written by and starred five Oxbridge graduates, namely Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin. The sixth member of the troupe was American-born Terry Gilliam, whose speciality was mad-cap animation. The six met in the mid-1960s working together in various collaborations before they came together to form the “Monty Python” team in 1969.

The legendary “Dead Parrot Sketch”, a satire on poor customer service, was written by Cleese and Chapman. It was initially performed in the eighth episode of show’s 1st series, which aired on 7 December 1969. The skit is often cited by fans of the show and pundits alike as being one of the funniest comedy sketches of all time.

Here’s five iconic sketches of “Python” comic genius that made the show such a great success:


Whicker Island

Alan Whicker (1921 – 2013) was a famed British journalist and television presenter and broadcaster. In a career that spanned almost 60 years, he was best known for his documentary television series ‘Whicker’s World’. The long-running programme was televised between 1958 and 1994. In his persona as the quintessential, old-fashioned, affable Englishman, the legendary presenter gained a legion of fans. The Monty Python sketch, gently mocking the much-loved presenter, aired in the first episode of the 3rd series of Monty Python in 1972.

The Lumberjack Song

“The Lumberjack Song” was written and composed by Terry Jones, Michael Palin, and Fred Tomlinson. The song was first performed in the ninth episode of the 1st series of Monty Python on 14 December 1969.

The Spanish Inquisition

“The Spanish Inquisition” was a 3-part sketch that appeared in the second episode of the 2nd series, first broadcast on 22 September 1970. The sketches famously parody the Catholic judicial authority, the Spanish Inquisition. The organisation ruthlessly imposed its puritanical values on the Spanish population between the late 15th and early 19th centuries. The sketch famously includes one of the Python’s team most often requoted taglines, i.e. “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”.


The Argument Clinic

The brilliantly funny “Argument Clinic” sketch featured John Cleese and Michael Palin in the main roles. A clever play on words, the sketch was first aired on TV in the third episode of the 3rd series on 2 November 1972.

The Ministry of Silly Walks

The Ministry of Silly Walks sketch was first broadcast in the first episode of the 2nd series of Monty Python on 15 September 1970. It sees John Cleese takes up the main role as Mr Teabag. However, it’s the physical comedy that is responsible for the laughs rather than the dialogue. A satire on the bureaucratic inefficiency of the UK Civil Service and Government, things have unfortunately and demonstratively got much worse since the 1970s.



Header image credit: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0/Flickr

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