Election Night Special

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"Election Night Special" is a Monty Python sketch parodying the coverage of United Kingdom general elections, specifically the 1970 general election, on the BBC by including hectic (and downright silly) actions by the media and a range of ridiculous candidates.

This sketch was featured in Episode 19 of the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV series, first broadcast on 3 November 1970. A somewhat different version of the sketch (leading into The Lumberjack Song) was also featured on the Monty Python Live at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane album.[1] A longer edit of the Drury Lane version also appeared on the promotional flexidisc Monty Python's Tiny Black Round Thing. The sketch also provides the basis for an item in Monty Python's Big Red Book in the form of a mock pamphlet for the Silly Party, which alongside characters from the original sketch, also names both Paul Fox and Ian MacNaughton as Silly Party candidates.

Throughout the sketch, the linkman (John Cleese) and other commentators appear in a fixed sequence, either giving variations on their original statement or simply repeating it, as results are coming in from various constituencies. The election is mainly contested by two major parties, the Sensible Party and the Silly Party, though third-party candidates (Slightly Silly, Very Silly) make their appearance.

The candidates and their vote totals

The sketch focuses on election results from the following three constituencies:

Party Candidate Votes % Swing
  Sensible Party Arthur J. Smith 30,612 48.8% Defeat
     Silly Party Jethro Q. Walrustitty 32,108 51.2% Hold
Total valid votes 62,720 100.0%
  Sensible Party Alan Jones 9,112 42.2% Loss
     Silly Party Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel 12,441 57.7% Gain
  Slightly Silly Party Kevin Phillips-Bong 0 0.0% Pathetic Defeat
Total valid votes 21,553 100.0%
  Sensible Party James Walker 26,318 50.0% Gain
     Silly Party Mr Elsie Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzip 26,317 50.0% Loss
     Very Silly (Independent) Malcolm Peter Brian Telescope Adrian Umbrella Stand Jasper Wednesday (pops mouth twice) Stoatgobbler John Raw Vegetable (whinnying) Arthur Norman Michael (blows squeaker) Featherstone Smith (whistle) Northcott Edwards Harris (fires pistol, then 'whoop') Mason (chuff-chuff-chuff-chuff) Frampton Jones Fruitbat Gilbert (sings) 'We'll keep a welcome in the' (three shots) Williams If I Could Walk That Way Jenkin (squeaker) Tiger-drawers Pratt Thompson (sings) 'Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head' Darcy Carter (horn) Pussycat (sings) 'Don't Sleep In The Subway' Barton Mainwaring (hoot, 'whoop') Smith 2 0.0% Spoiler
Total valid votes 52,637 100.0%

At the end of the sketch, further results are given in short:

The Drury Lane version gives a different set of results:

  • A little pink pussycat gains Barrow in Furness, "a gain from the Liberals, there".
  • Rastas Odinga-Odinga has taken Wolverhampton Southwest, "That's Enoch Powell's old constituency; an important gain for Darkie Power".
  • Arthur Negus has held Bristols. "That's not a result, that's a bit of gossip". (see above)
  • Sir Alec Douglas-Home has taken Oldham for the Stone-Dead party.
  • A small piece of putty about that big, a cheese mechanic from Dunbar and two frogs, one called Kipper and the other one not, have all gone "neep neep neep" in Blackpool Central.

Cultural references

  • Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel, here a candidate for Luton, made another appearance in the third season of Monty Python's Flying Circus, appearing in the "Spot the Looney" sketch.
  • In the 1981 Crosby by-election, candidate John Desmond Dougrez-Lewis, a 22-year-old student from Hayes in Greater London, changed his name by deed poll to Tarquin Fin-tim-lin-bin-whin-bim-lim-bus-stop-F'tang-F'tang-Olé-Biscuitbarrel. Thus the name was printed on the ballot paper, although the Returning Officer simply referred to him as "Tarquin Biscuitbarrel". He received 223 votes and finished in fifth out of nine candidates. He later participated in the Official Monster Raving Loony Party, which has some conceptual similarities with the Silly Party mentioned in the sketch.[3]
  • Jeremy Fox stood as a candidate for the Silly Party in Dover in the 1979 British general election, as a protest against the National Front.[4] Fox outpolled the National Front candidate by 642 votes to 378.


  1. Among other changes, the live version at Drury Lane gave a shorter name to the Very Silly candidate in Harpenden and changed some of the first syllables of Tarquin's surname, making it Fin-tim-lim-bim-(brief pause)lim-bim-bim-bim-bim. Sensible Candidate James Walker became Jeannette Walker, and Silly Candidate Jethro Q. Walrustitty was referred to as Jethro Q. Bunn Whackett Buzzard Stubble and Boot Walrustitty ("Bun, Whacket, Buzzard, Stubble and Boot" was an early name considered for what became "Monty Python."). Elsie Zzzzzzzzzzzz was also referred to as Mrs rather than Mr.
  2. "Monty Python's Flying Circus: Just the Words - Episode 19". ibras.dk. Retrieved 19 October 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Boothroyd, David. "Byelections in the 1979-83 Parliament". United Kingdom Election Results. Retrieved 2010-12-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Sutton, Terry (23 April 2010). "60 years of fighting for the town that tips the country". This is Kent. Retrieved 13 April 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links