For fans of slapstick comedy it is perhaps the funniest sketch ever devised, but Monty Python have revealed John Cleese is just too frail to recreate The Ministry of Silly Walks for their last live shows.
The skit, which was first broadcast in the troupe’s TV series Flying Circus in 1970, features the now 74-year-old attempt to create a new batch of government-approved silly walks.
High-stepping in and out of meetings in the Silly Walks Department on a mission to create increasingly ludicrous gaits, Cleese’s act became an instant classic and one of the British public’s favourite sketches.
But fellow-Python Michael Palin has revealed that his co-star has had too many knee operations to perform the stunt in their upcoming live shows, which are expected to be the group’s final appearance.
He told the The Sunday Times that the reboot -‘Monty Python Live (mostly)’ - will feature a mix of modern references and classic sketches, including the much-loved ‘Dead Parrot’ scene.
“There is a script [for the show],” he said. “It will be the classics from the Dead Parrot to Upper-Class Twits. And it will be the first time we’ve done the Spanish Inquisition on stage.
“That’s what people want to see. I think they’d be horrified if we came up with new stuff. There will be up-to-date references to news events but that could change from night to night.”
He added: “We can still sing, so there will be the songs. John won’t be doing the silly walks because he’s had his knee operations, and those leg kicks were pretty acrobatic.”
Tickets for the shows, which will be performed throughout July at the O2 Arena in London, sold out in less than 45 seconds when they went on sale last month.
Reflecting on the public's for the the show, Palin said: "It's absolutely terrifying. It could go horribly wrong but it could be amazing.
"And that's what makes me want to do it. We'll never do it again so why not just see what happens.
"It's a change from sitting at home with an Ovaltine."
High-stepping in and out of meetings in the Silly Walks Department on a mission to create increasingly ludicrous gaits, Cleese’s act became an instant classic and one of the British public’s favourite sketches
By the way, as of June 3rd, this had over 7 million views on You Tube