The Bishop (Monty Python)

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Not to be confused with Dead Bishop or Salvation Fuzz.

The Bishop is a Monty Python sketch from season 2, episode 17 of Monty Python's Flying Circus (titled "The Buzz Aldrin Show"). "The Bishop" is a parody of The Saint, a British crime-drama series of the 1960s starring Roger Moore as Simon Templar, enemy of gangland.

"The Bishop" stars Terry Jones as a crime-fighting bishop attempting to stop several comical murders of various Anglican clergymen (played by John Cleese, Michael Palin, Graham Chapman and Eric Idle), always arriving a moment too late to be of assistance. Palin also appears as a character called "Devious", whom the Bishop directs 'Don't move!' at the very beginning and ends of the sketch. Much of the humour from this sketch derives from its frequent repetition. The bishop smacks his crook onto Devious' desk and tells him not to move, leading into the opening credits. This is then repeated at the end of the sketch when the Bishop comes in to rescue the priest being fleeced by Devious, and again later in the programme when - after an extended tirade by an inexplicably nude Graham Chapman on a chat show - John Cleese's interviewer addresses an off-screen 'Bishop', again launching the crook slam scene and the opening/closing credits. This is then interrupted by a caption and voiceover apologising for the frequent repetition in the programme. This is then interrupted by a repeat caption and voiceover apologising for the frequent repetition in the programme.


The sketch leads out of The Insurance Sketch, which ends with Devious (a sleazy insurance agent) asking a priest to leave the office after Devious has swindled him. The Bishop suddenly appears, slams his crook on the desk, and orders Devious not to move. This is followed by an animated title sequence (in the styles of Terry Gilliam) designed to suggest a dynamic, adventurous crime programme:

The Bishop drives a blue Pontiac Firebird up to a church, followed by his entourage of four tough-looking priests, during a Sunday sermon. The Bishop storms into the church saying "The text, Vic! Don't say the text!" The priest names the scripture text to be read anyway (Leviticus 3:14), and his pulpit explodes.

Next, the Bishop almost makes it to a baptism in time to stop a time bomb disguised as a baby from exploding. Despite yelling "Don't say the kid's name, Vic!" he is too late, (and, in fact, "We was...too late." effectively serves as the Bishop's catch-phrase.) and the fake baby explodes.

The Bishop arrives at a wedding and says, "The ring, Vic! Don't touch the ring!" but the priest takes the ring from his Bible, unaware that it is attached to a cord hooked to a Sixteen Ton Weight. The weight falls on the priest.

Two bellringers are seen, one enthusiastically ringing, the other standing still until he yanks the rope, hanging the other bellringer by the neck. The Bishop arrives, again too late, and leaves dismayed.

At a funeral, a cannon rises out of the open grave and aims at the priest. This time, the Bishop and his men don't even exit the car, but reverse in the parking lot and leave as soon as they hear the cannon blast.

While purchasing cigarettes at a tobacconist's, the Bishop and his men hear a cry of help from a priest (the same priest from The Insurance Sketch) in an upper floor window. The Bishop and his men run across the street, charge up the labyrinthine staircase, and break into an office, using one of the priests as a battering ram. The Bishop tells Devious not to move, slamming his crook on the desk. The animated title sequence begins again.