Giant sculpture of dead Monty Python parrot Norwegian Blue appears next to Tower Bridge

By Culture24 Reporter | 15 July 2014

A huge sculpture of the best-known dead parrot in sketch show history has been laid to rest on London's South Bank

A photo of a large sculpture of a dead blue bird lying by a riverbank near a bridge
Sculptors have taken on the challenge to make a dead Monty Python bird match its televisual appearance almost 50 years ago© Matthew Chattle,
A giant dead parrot has been crane-lifted upside down onto Potters Field, a popular tourist spot on London’s South Bank overlooked by Tower Bridge, in a sculptural stunt inspired by one of the most unforgettable sketches from Monty Python’s Flying Circus.

A photo of a large sculpture of a dead blue bird lying by a riverbank near a bridge
© Matthew Chattle,
Commissioned by comedy channel Gold following a poll of 2,000 comedy fans, the enormous Norwegian Blue has been laid to rest 45 years after Michael Palin’s shopkeeper character proclaimed the bird very much alive, thwarting the protestations of John Cleese, who had bought the dead bird on the assurance that the caged pet was “resting”.

The sculpture will be taken to the O2 Arena for the final run of the troupe’s current live shows.

“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,” said Iain Prendergast, the lead sculptor behind the 15-metre long feathered fibreglass, which took a team of three artists more than two months to design, construct and paint.

“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.

A photo of a large sculpture of a dead blue bird lying by a riverbank near a bridge
© Matthew Chattle,
“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.”

The pet shop scene has been repeatedly reinvented on television, radio and at live shows during the decades since it first aired, in 1969.

“We believe that our giant dead parrot provides a fitting tribute to a sketch that is so loved by audiences throughout the world,” said Steve North, of Gold, calling the Pythons “the greatest sketch group of all time”.

The channel will be broadcasting live from the final show of Monty Python Live (mostly): One Down Five to Go.

  • Monty Python Live: Back Stage starts at 7pm on July 20 2014. Use the hashtag #montypythonlive on Twitter.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

Pics: Matthew Chattle,

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