Four Yorkshiremen sketch

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The "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch is a parody of nostalgic conversations about humble beginnings or difficult childhoods. Four Yorkshiremen reminisce about their upbringing, and as the conversation progresses, they try to outdo one another, their accounts of deprived childhoods becoming increasingly absurd.

The sketch was originally written and performed for the 1967 British television comedy series At Last the 1948 Show by the show's four writer-performers: Tim Brooke-Taylor, John Cleese, Graham Chapman and Marty Feldman.[1] [2][3]

Barry Cryer is the wine waiter in the original performance and may have contributed to the writing.

A near derivative of the sketch appears in the BBC Radio show I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again Series 7, Episode 5 on 9 February 1969, in which the cast, John Cleese, Graeme Garden, Tim Brooke-Taylor, Bill Oddie, David Hatch, in the guise of old buffers at a gentlemen's club, employ the same trope of out-doing each other for hardship, this time in the context of how far and how slowly they had to walk to get to various places in former days. It even ends with the same payoff line "...and if you tell that to the young people today, they won't believe you..."

The original performance of the sketch by the four creators is one of the surviving sketches from the programme and can be seen on the At Last the 1948 Show DVD.

Later performances[edit]

By Monty Python members[edit]

The "Four Yorkshiremen" sketch has been performed by Monty Python during their live shows, Live at Drury Lane (1974, no video recording available), Live at the Hollywood Bowl (1982) and Monty Python Live (Mostly) (2014, performed at The O₂), each performance varying slightly in its content. The performers in each case were Graham Chapman (replaced by John Cleese in the 2014 performance), Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin (Palin is the only member of the group actually from Yorkshire). It was also performed by Cleese, Jones, Palin and Rowan Atkinson for The Secret Policeman's Ball, the 1979 Amnesty International benefit gala.


The sketch was revived for the 2001 Amnesty show We Know Where You Live, performed by Harry Enfield, Alan Rickman, Eddie Izzard and Vic Reeves. In 1989 the script was published in the charity fundraiser The Utterly, Utterly Amusing and Pretty Damn Definitive Comic Relief Revue Book under the title "The Good Old Days", with the characters named as Joshua, Obadiah, Josiah and Ezekiel. This book was launched on an edition of the primetime chat show Wogan where the sketch was performed by Terry Wogan, Stephen Fry, Gareth Hale and Norman Pace.

In March 2015 the sketch was revived and adapted in a live television performance, for Red Nose Day 2015, by Davina McCall, John Bishop, David Walliams and Eddie Izzard.[4]


  1. ^ Morris Bright; Robert Ross (2001). Fawlty Towers: fully booked. BBC. p. 60. ISBN 978-0-563-53439-6. Retrieved 29 September 2010. 
  2. ^ Radio interview with Tim Brooke-Taylor — includes comments about the "Four Yorkshiremen sketch"
  3. ^ The story of Britain's favourite sitcom "Fawlty Towers", by Graham McCann, published by Hodder & Stoughton Ltd, England, U.K., in 2007 ISBN 978-0-340-89811-6 (hardback) — ISBN 978-0-340-89812-3 (paperback)
  4. ^ [1]

External links[edit]