The Spanish Inquisition Sketch
From "Monty Python's Flying Circus"
and "And Now for Something Completely Different"
Graham Chapman: Trouble at mill. Carol Cleveland: Oh no - what kind of trouble?
Chapman: One on't cross beams gone owt askew on treddle. Cleveland: Pardon? Chapman: One
on't cross beams gone owt askew on treddle. Cleveland: I don't understand what you're
saying. Chapman: (slightly irritatedly and with exaggeratedly clear accent) One of the
cross beams has gone out askew on the treddle. Cleveland: Well what on earth does that
mean? Chapman: *I* don't know - Mr Wentworth just told me to come in here and say that
there was trouble at the mill, that's all - I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.
(JARRING CHORD) (The door flies open and Cardinal Ximinez of Spain (Palin) enters, flanked
by two junior cardinals. Cardinal Biggles (Jones) has goggles pushed over his forehead.
Cardinal Fang (Gilliam) is just Cardinal Fang) Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish
Inquisition! Our chief weapon is suprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our
two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are
fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope....
Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as
fear, surprise.... I'll come in again. (Exit and exeunt) Chapman: I didn't expect a kind
of Spanish Inquisition. (JARRING CHORD) (The cardinals burst in) Ximinez: NOBODY expects
the Spanish Inquisition! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear,
surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red
uniforms - Oh damn! (To Cardinal Biggles) I can't say it - you'll have to say it. Biggles:
What? Ximinez: You'll have to say the bit about 'Our chief weapons are ...' Biggles:
(rather horrified): I couldn't do that... (Ximinez bundles the cardinals outside again)
Chapman: I didn't expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition. (JARRING CHORD) (The cardinals
enter) Biggles: Er.... Nobody...um.... Ximinez: Expects... Biggles: Expects... Nobody
expects the...um...the Spanish...um... Ximinez: Inquisition. Biggles: I know, I know!
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. In fact, those who do expect - Ximinez: Our chief
weapons are... Biggles: Our chief weapons are...um...er... Ximinez: Surprise... Biggles:
Surprise and -- Ximinez: Okay, stop. Stop. Stop there - stop there. Stop. Phew! Ah! ...our
chief weapons are surprise...blah blah blah. Cardinal, read the charges. Fang: You are
hereby charged that you did on diverse dates commit heresy against the Holy Church. 'My
old man said follow the--' Biggles: That's enough. (To Cleveland) Now, how do you plead?
Cleveland: We're innocent. Ximinez: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! (Superimposed caption: 'DIABOLICAL
LAUGHTER') Biggles: We'll soon change your mind about that! (Superimposed caption:
'DIABOLICAL ACTING') Ximinez: Fear, surprise, and a most ruthless-- (controls himself with
a supreme effort) Ooooh! Now, Cardinal -- the rack! (Biggles produces a plastic-coated
dish-drying rack. Ximinez looks at it and clenches his teeth in an effort not to lose
control. He hums heavily to cover his anger) Ximinez: You....Right! Tie her down. (Fang
and Biggles make a pathetic attempt to tie her on to the drying rack) Ximinez: Right! How
do you plead? Cleveland: Innocent. Ximinez: Ha! Right! Cardinal, give the rack (oh dear)
give the rack a turn. (Biggles stands their awkwardly and shrugs his shoulders) Biggles:
I.... Ximinez: (gritting his teeth) I *know*, I know you can't. I didn't want to say
anything. I just wanted to try and ignore your crass mistake. Biggles: I... Ximinez: It
makes it all seem so stupid. Biggles: Shall I...? Ximinez: No, just pretend for God's
sake. Ha! Ha! Ha! (Biggles turns an imaginary handle on the side of the dish-rack) (Cut to
them torturing a dear old lady, Marjorie Wilde). Ximinez: Now, old woman -- you are
accused of heresy on three counts -- heresy by thought, heresy by word, heresy by deed,
and heresy by action -- *four* counts. Do you confess? Wilde: I don't understand what I'm
accused of. Ximinez: Ha! Then we'll make you understand! Biggles! Fetch...THE CUSHIONS!
(JARRING CHORD) (Biggles holds out two ordinary modern household cushions) Biggles: Here
they are, lord. Ximinez: Now, old lady -- you have one last chance. Confess the heinous
sin of heresy, reject the works of the ungodly -- *two* last chances. And you shall be
free -- *three* last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have
divulged in my previous utterance. Wilde: I don't know what you're talking about. Ximinez:
Right! If that's the way you want it -- Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions!
(Biggles carries out this rather pathetic torture) Ximinez: Confess! Confess! Confess!
Biggles: It doesn't seem to be hurting her, lord. Ximinez: Have you got all the stuffing
up one end? Biggles: Yes, lord. Ximinez (angrily hurling away the cushions): Hm! She is
made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch...THE COMFY CHAIR! (JARRING CHORD) (Zoom into
Fang's horrified face) Fang (terrified): The...Comfy Chair? (Biggles pushes in a comfy
chair -- a really plush one) Ximinez: So you think you are strong because you can survive
the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Biggles! Put her in the Comfy Chair! (They roughly
push her into the Comfy Chair) Ximinez (with a cruel leer): Now -- you will stay in the
Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven. (aside, to Biggles) Is
that really all it is? Biggles: Yes, lord. Ximinez: I see. I suppose we make it worse by
shouting a lot, do we? Confess, woman. Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess! Biggles: I
confess! Ximinez: Not you!