The Architects Sketch - by John Cleese and Graham Chapman
From "Monty Python's Flying Circus", 20 October 1970
Scene: A large posh office. Two clients, well-dressed city gents, sit facing a large
table at which stands Mr. Tid, the account manager of the architectural firm. (original
cast: Mr Tid, Graham Chapman; Mr Wiggin, John Cleese; City Gent One, Michael Palin; Client
2:, Terry Jones; Mr Wymer, Eric Idle)
Mr. Tid (Graham Chapman): Well, gentlemen, we have two architectural designs for this
new residential block of yours and I thought it best if the architects themselves
explained the particular advantages of their designs. There is a knock at the door. Mr.
Tid: Ah! That's probably the first architect now. Come in. Mr. Wiggin enters.
Mr. Wiggin (John Cleese): Good morning, gentlemen.
Clients: Good morning.
Mr. Wiggin: This is a 12-storey block combining classical neo-Georgian feature s with
the efficiency of modern techniques. The tenants arrive here and are carried along the
corridor on a conveyor belt in extreme comfort, past murals depicting Mediterranean
scenes, towards the rotating knives. The last twenty feet of the corridor are heavily
soundproofed. The blood pours down these chutes and the mangled flesh slurps into
Client 1: Excuse me.
Mr. Wiggin: Yes?
Client 1: Did you say 'knives'?
Mr. Wiggin: Rotating knives, yes.
Client 2: Do I take it that you are proposing to slaughter our tenants?
Mr. Wiggin: ...Does that not fit in with your plans?
Client 1: Not really. We asked for a simple block of flats.
Mr. Wiggin: Oh. I hadn't fully divined your attitude towards the tenants. You see I
mainly design slaughter houses.
Mr. Wiggin: Pity.
Mr. Wiggin: (indicating points of the model) Mind you, this is a real beaut. None of
your blood caked on the walls and flesh flying out of the windows incommoding the
passers-by with this one. (confidentially) My life has been leading up to this.
Client 2: Yes, and well done, but we wanted an apartment block.
Mr. Wiggin: May I ask you to reconsider.
Mr. Wiggin: You wouldn't regret this. Think of the tourist trade.
Client 1: I'm sorry. We want a block of flats, not an abattoir.
Mr. Wiggin: ...I see. Well, of course, this is just the sort of blinkered philistine
ignorance I've come to expect from you non-creative garbage. You sit there on your
loathsome spotty behinds squeezing blackheads, not caring a tinker's cuss for the
struggling artist. You excrement, you whining hypocritical toadies with your colour TV
sets and your Tony Jacklin golf clubs and your bleeding masonic secret handshakes. You
wouldn't let me join, would you, you blackballing bastards. Well I wouldn't become a
Freemason if you went down on your stinking knees and begged me.
Client 2: We're sorry you feel that way but we did want a block of flats, nice though
the abattoir is.
Mr. Wiggin: Oh sod the abattoir, that's not important. (He dashes forward and kneels in
front of them.) But if any of you could put in a word for me I'd love to be a mason.
Masonry opens doors. I'd be very quiet, I was a bit on edge just now but if I were a mason
I'd sit at the back and not get in anyone's way.
Client 1: (politely) Thank you.
Mr. Wiggin: ...I've got a second-hand apron.
Client 2: Thank you. (Mr. Wiggin hurries to the door but stops...)
Mr. Wiggin: I nearly got in at Hendon.
Client 1: Thank you. Mr. Wiggin exits. Mr Tid rises.
Mr. Tid: I'm sorry about that. Now the second architect is Mr. Wymer of Wymer and
Dibble. (Mr. Wymer enters, carrying his model with great care. He places it on the table.)
Mr. Wymer: Good morning gentlemen. This is a scale model of the block, 28 stories high,
with 280 apartments. It has three main lifts and two service lifts. Access would be from
Dibbingley Road. (The model falls over. Mr Wymer quickly places it upright again.) The
structure is built on a central pillar system with... (The model falls over again. Mr
Wymer tries to make it stand up, but it won't, so he has to hold it upright.) ...with
cantilevered floors in pre-stressed steel and concrete. The dividing walls on each floor
section are fixed by recessed magnalium-flanged grooves. (The bottom ten floors of the
model give way and it partly collapses.) By avoiding wood and timber derivatives and all
other inflammables we have almost totally removed the risk of.... (The model is smoking.
The odd flame can be seen. Wymer looks at the city gents.) Frankly, I think the central
pillar may need strengthening.
Client 2: Is that going to put the cost up?
Mr. Wymer: I'm afraid so.
Client 2: I don't know we need to worry too much about strengthening that. After all,
these are not meant to be luxury flats.
Client 1: Absolutely. If we make sure the tenants are of light build and relatively
sedentary and if the weather's on our side, I think we have a winner here.
Mr. Wymer: Thank you. (The model explodes.)
Client 2: I quite agree.
Mr. Wymer: Well, thank you both very much. (They all shake hands, giving the secret
Mason's handshake.) Cut to Mr. Wiggin watching at the window.
Mr. Wiggin (turning to camera): It opens doors, I'm telling you.