The dead parrot at the centre of the eponymous sketch performed by John Cleese and Michael Palin, first screened 45 years ago, has been recreated on a giant scale to celebrate the screening of the very last Monty Python live show on comedy TV channel Gold this Sunday, the 20th July. The mammoth model of the ‘Norwegian Blue’ was commissioned by the comedy channel following a survey of 2000 comedy fans which named the surreal pet shop skit as the nation’s favourite Monty Python sketch of all time. The famous sketch was first broadcast on 7 December 1969 and remains a firm favourite with audiences who have been enjoying the live shows at The O2 this month. The sculpture caused a stir amongst London commuters as it was hung upside down by a crane before being respectfully laid to rest on its back at Potters Fields on London’s South bank near Tower Bridge. The model, which is made from fibre glass, took a team of three sculptors over two months to design, construct and paint. The giant dead parrot measures 15 metres (almost 50 feet) from the tip of its tail to the top of its head, the equivalent to the height of five elephants standing on top of one another. Lead sculptor Iain Prendergast says,
We are all Monty Python fans so we were delighted to receive the brief from Gold to recreate the mythical ‘Norwegian Blue’ on a giant scale. We watched both live and televised versions of the sketch and found that there have been a number of different incarnations of the parrot with a variety of different plumages. Our sculpture provides a colourful hybrid of the dead parrots which have featured in the celebrated sketch. The key challenge for us was capturing the comedy value of the dead parrot, keeping the realism of the bird whilst also adding touches like the bloodshot, ‘stunned’ eyes.
The homage to the iconic Monty Python sketch will be taken to The O2 arena where fans attending the final run of live shows will be able to say their final farewell to the comedy troupe, taking pictures of the giant dead parrot and adding to the Twitter buzz using the hashtag #montypythonlive. Steve North, General Manager of Gold says,
We believe that our giant dead parrot provides a fitting tribute to a sketch that is so loved by audiences throughout the world. We hope that fans will join us for the final Monty Python performance this Sunday to see Britain’s greatest ever comedy group bow out in style.
Gold will be screening the live broadcast of the final Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down Five To Go stage show on Sunday 20th July.
Source: Gold (Sky 110, Virgin 126, TalkTalk 408, Top-Up TV 20)
We’ll be featuring Monty Python (Mostly) Live over the weekend, along with more details on the TV special.