A 50 foot fibreglass bird was hung upside down by a crane this morning at London’s Potters Fields to mark the forthcoming TV screening of Monty Python’s live show.
The world famous dead parrot sketch, in which John Cleese attempts to return a deceased ‘Norwegian Blue’ parrot to a pet shop, features in the current Monty Python Live (mostly) farewell show and will appear when UKTV channel Gold screens the final performance on Sunday.
“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,” explained lead sculptor Iain Prendergast, who helped build the enormous model bird, which took more than two months to make.
Steve North, general manager of Gold, explained that the massive parrot near London’s Tower Bridge is “a fitting tribute” to the Python’s famous sketch. Yet Prendergast said building the thing wasn’t easy:
“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,” he explained.
The huge bird will be delivered to the O2 Arena, where the Python live stage show is taking place.
“It’s a huge step in Gold’s evolution to be part of such a significant national event and to be broadcasting it live so that everyone can be there,” explained Richard Watsham, UKTV director of commissioning. “Monty Python is arguably the most influential comedy group the country has ever known and it’s a matter of great pride that they’ve trusted us with celebrating their very last night together.”
Gold will screen the final Python show live on Sunday 20 July, following a backstage programme which is expected to follow comics Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones and Michael Palin as they prepare for the performance, and could also see appearances from celebrity fans.