John Hannah: Cheer up. Remember what the Monty Python boys say.
Gwyneth Paltrow: "Always look on the bright side of life?"
John Hannah: No, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition."

-- Sliding Doors


The Spanish Inquisition Sketch is a sketch (or better yet, a part of three sketches, a running gag if you will) in episode 15: The Spanish Inquisition, of Monty Python's Flying Circus. The episode begins with a mill worker, played by Graham Chapman, complaining about how there is trouble with the mill. When his wife, played by Carol Cleveland, inquires repeatedly to what he is saying, because she can't understand him and it doesn't make any sense, he says, "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."

In bursts Monty Python's Spanish Inquisitors, Cardinal Ximinez played by Michael Palin, Cardinal Biggles played by Terry Jones, and Cardinal Fang played by Terry Gilliam. Ximinez shouts:

"NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...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."

And they do, and Ximinez still has trouble with the lines, so he convinces Biggles to do it for him the next time. They come in again, and Biggles has even more trouble than Ximinez did. Eventually they get around to the torture bit, and Ximinez asked for the rack, Biggles pulls out a dish drying rack. They are forced to continue as they pretend to torture Carol Cleveland into confessing to her heresy.

The bit continues later in the show as Carol Cleveland is being shown pictures of Uncle Ted in different areas around the house, by Dear Old Lady played by Marjorie Wilde, "This is Uncle Ted in front of the house. This is Uncle Ted at the back of the house." And so on, till they get to a picture of the Spanish Inquisition. Cleveland says, "Oh! I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition."

And in comes our Inquisitors with their, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!" They take the Dear Old Lady into a dark dungeon. Ximinez says, "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?"

She, of course does not, and to persuade her they get out the cushions and begin to poke her with them. The cushions aren't having the effect that Ximinez had planned so he asks Fang, who is the one doing the poking, if he's got all the stuffing up one end. He does, so they realize she is immune to the cushion poking, they decide to try something much more torturous, the comfy chair! And it just gets silly after that...

The last bit appears at the end of the episode in a sketch where a judge, played by Terry Jones, is on trial for ordering Miss Thang, a very nice looking girl, who was convicted in his court, "to be taken from this place and brought round to his place." The consoler, played by John Cleese, continues, "The accused then commented on Miss Thang's bodily structure, made several not-at-all legal remarks on the subject of fun and then placed his robes over his head and began to emit low moans."

After a short disagreement with the accused judge and the sitting judge, the accused judge says, "Blimey! I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition." Everyone in the court turns to the door, expecting the Inquisitors to burst in.

The camera cuts to a house, where our Inquisitors are seen running out the door and climbing on to a bus. The credits start to roll as they make their way to the courtroom. As they burst through the door, Ximinez says, "Nobody expects the..." and "The End" pops on the screen, "Oh bugger!"

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