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Blackmail is a sketch that appears in "Live from the Grill-O-Mat," the eighteenth episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus. It also appears in And Now for Something Completely Different.

Synopsis[]

A smarmy television gameshow host (Michael Palin) extorts money from his viewers by threatening to reveal embarrassing, cofidential or illegal secrets about them. (In the film version, he has been transformed from the timid Mr Anchovy of the Vocational Guidance Counsellor sketch by his fairy godmother.)

Several photos (or parts thereof) are shown as the host obliquely discusses the subject's situation. In talking about the people involved, he uses their initials, towns of residence, names of their children and/or social positions, then smilingly threatens to reveal more if not paid promptly. After each round, we briefly see a nude organist (Terry Gilliam in the TV version, Terry Jones in the film version) playing a couple of chords. The final game is "Stop The Film," where a scandalous film is played until a phone call is received, and the amount of money needed increases the longer the subject waits. The music which accompanies the film in the film version is "Swing-a-Day" by Johnny Hawksworth, while the TV version features "Roving Report No.2" by Jack Trombey. In the TV sketch the increasing amount of money is shown by a set of numerical indicator tubes, the amount increasing continuously. In the film the amount is shown as a conventional superimposed caption, increasing every few seconds to the sound of a cash till ringing. The man that answers the phone (Terry Jones) is at a meeting for the Society for Putting Things on Top of Other Things.

And Now for Something Completely Different[]

In the film version, the host is Herbert Anchovy, the now ex-accountant from Vocational Guidance Counsellor. He looks nervous, having been dropped right into the studio, but once he takes his glasses and moustache off, he adopts his signature smarmy personality. The last blackmail victim is implied to be the Colonel, who is caught talking on the phone before he links to the next sketch.

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