Parrot Sketch Not Included – 20 Years of Monty Python

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Parrot Sketch Not Included
Parrot Sketch Not Included - 20 Years of Monty Python.jpg
VHS cover art
Created by Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
Michael Palin
Starring Steve Martin
Graham Chapman
John Cleese
Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle
Terry Jones
Michael Palin
Country of origin United Kingdom
Running time 73 minutes (UK)
72 minutes (US)
Original network BBC 1 (UK)
Showtime (US)
Original release 18 November 1989 (UK)
17 March 1990 (US)
Preceded by Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
Followed by Monty Python Live At Aspen

Parrot Sketch Not Included was a tribute special to the Monty Python comedy group, put together to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the debut of the group's television series, Monty Python's Flying Circus. Produced by Tiger Television for the BBC, it was compiled by noted British comedy producer John Lloyd and broadcast on BBC 1 on 18 November 1989.[1]

Introduced by actor and Monty Python fan Steve Martin, the special features several sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus, as well as some sketches from the two German specials Monty Python's Fliegender Zirkus. True to its title, the popular Dead Parrot sketch is not included.

The special was broadcast in the US on the Showtime network on 17 March 1990.[2] This was 90 seconds shorter than the UK version due to a cut scene from the end of the pre-credits sequence which had Steve Martin revealing, via a slowed down clip of the Bruces sketch, that the Pythons were Satanists. This shorter version was released on VHS in the UK by CBS/Fox in 1990 and later on DVD in the US by A&E in 2001, as part of their Monty Python Live box set.

Sketches Included[edit]

Deleted sequence[edit]

A new piece of material featuring the Monty Python members and Steve Martin was to be included in the special. In the sequence, the Monty Python members, dressed as school boys, ask Martin questions and take notes. Although present at the recording, Graham Chapman did not perform in the sketch. The sequence was removed at the Pythons' request, as Terry Jones explained: "There was this new sketch which featured us and Steve Martin. Somebody had cobbled this thing together and was passing it off, saying it was written by John or whatever. When I read it I thought, 'This is just terrible, we can't do this'. So we arrived and Steve Martin was there at the film studios. We had to turn up to do it and I'm very glad that they cut it".[3] Footage of the Pythons meeting up to record the sketch was aired in the US version of the Life of Python documentary.

The Pythons gave an alternate version of their appearance, which is featured in the special, in which Steve Martin briefly reveals that they are all in a cupboard. Chapman appears very pale and sallow; at the time the throat cancer that would kill him was advancing rapidly. This would be his last filmed appearance before his death on 4 October 1989, which coincidentally was the day before the 20th anniversary of the broadcast of the first episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus.




  1. ^
  2. ^ McCall, Douglas (2013-11-12). Monty Python: A Chronology, 1969-2012, 2d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9780786478118.
  3. ^ The Pythons Autobiography By The Pythons, p339, 2003, Orion