"The Spanish Inquisition" is a series of sketches in Monty Python's Flying Circus, Series 2 Episode 2, first broadcast 22 September 1970, parody the real-life Spanish Inquisition. This episode is itself entitled "The Spanish Inquisition". The sketches are notable for their principal catchphrase, "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
This is a recurring sketch always predicated on an unrelated sketch in which one character, expressing irritation at being questioned by another, would announce: "I didn't expect the Spanish Inquisition!" At this point, the Inquisition — consisting of Cardinal Ximénez (Michael Palin), and his assistants Cardinal Biggles (Terry Jones), and Cardinal Fang (Terry Gilliam) — would burst into the room at the sound of a jarring chord. Ximénez would shout, with a particular and high-pitched emphasis on the first syllable: "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!"
After entering, the Inquisition frequently get bogged down in recitations of their weapons: "Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms!" Ximénez states the number of weapons they have ("Our two/three/four weapons are..."), then lists one more than he had counted, before starting again using a higher number. After several attempts, Ximénez states: "I'll come in again...", and herds The Inquisition back off the set. The straight man delivers the cue line again, the Inquisition bursts back in (complete with jarring chord), and the introduction is tried again. This is repeated two or three times before Ximénez gives up and moves on.
Ximénez repeatedly runs into the problem of not being able to torture anyone effectively. When he calls for "the rack", Cardinal Biggles produces a dish-drying rack. When poking the victim with soft cushions produces no confession, Ximénez inquires whether his assistants had got all the stuffing together into one end of the cushions, for supposed maximum effectiveness. Failing that, Ximénez forces the victim to sit in the "comfy chair", and states that the victim will get a cup of tea and a biscuit at 11 o'clock.
Read more about The Spanish Inquisition at Wikipedia
Official Site: Monty Python
Researched by: Mullon