Fish Licence

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The Fish Licence is a sketch from Season 2 Episode 10 (Scott of the Antarctic) of the popular British television series, Monty Python's Flying Circus. It first aired on 1 December 1970.[1]

Eric Praline (John Cleese) is a put-upon customer who seeks to obtain a licence for his pet halibut, Eric, although he has difficulty explaining to the clerk (Michael Palin) how all pets should be licensed.[2] The clerk repeatedly calls Praline a "loony", to which Praline angrily replies by naming famous people who kept odd pets.[3] Praline even produces "a dog licence with the word 'dog' crossed out and 'cat' written in crayon", and explains that the man in the "Ministry of Housinge" cat detector van (a parody of the TV detector van) didn't have the right form.[3] All in all, the pets Praline mentions are:

In response to the clerk's assurance that there is no such thing as (and no need for) a fish licence, Praline requests a statement to that fact signed by the Lord Mayor. The superhumanly tall Lord Mayor (Graham Chapman), with full regalia and entourage, enters the office and hands a thunderstuck Praline the signed statement. An announcer (also Cleese) reverently narrates the exchange, ending by saying that Praline has "gone spare".[3]


  • This is one of the three appearances by Eric Praline. The other two are the Dead Parrot sketch and a brief appearance as a link the 5th episode of the second series, "Live from the Grill-o-Mat".
  • OpenBSD's 3.5 release contained a parody track of both the Fish Licence sketch and the song "Eric the Half a Bee", titled "CARP Licence and Redundancy Must Be Free".

See also


  1. Chapman, Graham; Cleese, John; Gilliam, Terry; Idle, Eric; Jones, Terry; Palin, Michael (1989). Wilmut, Roger, ed. The Complete Monty Python's Flying Circus: All the Words, Volume One. New York, New York: Pantheon Books. p. 320 (Appendix). ISBN 0-679-72647-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Marcia Landy (2005), Monty Python's flying circus, pp. 89–90, ISBN 978-0-8143-3103-3<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 All the Words: Volume One. pp. 316-318.

External links