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Blackmail - Monty Python's Flying Circus

Blackmail - Monty Python's Flying Circus

The Blackmail show is a Monty Python sketch that first aired in episode 18, Live from the Grill-o-mat, of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It has also appeared in the film And Now For Something Completely Different.

In it, Michael Palin plays a smarmy television game show host who extorts money from his viewers by threatening to reveal embarrassing, cofidential or illegal secrets about them. (In the film version, he has been transformed from the timid Mr Anchovy of the Vocational Guidance Counsellor sketch by his fairy godmother.)

Several photos (or parts thereof) are shown as the host obliquely discusses the subject's situation. In talking about the people involved, he uses their initials, towns of residence, names of their children and/or social positions, then smilingly threatens to reveal more if not paid promptly. After each round, we briefly see a nude organist (Terry Gilliam in the TV version, Terry Jones in the film version) playing a couple of chords. The final game is "Stop The Film," where a scandalous film is played until a phone call is received, and the amount of money needed increases the longer the subject waits. The music which accompanies the film in the film version is "Swing-a-Day" by Johnny Hawksworth, while the TV version features "Roving Report No.2" by Jack Trombey. In the TV sketch the increasing amount of money is shown by a set of numerical indicator tubes, the amount increasing continuously. In the film the amount is shown as a conventional superimposed caption, increasing every few seconds to the sound of a cash till ringing.

See also Edit

  • Blackmail


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