Why Monty Python’s pink knight satire would never be written today

Why Monty Python’s pink knight satire would never be written today, by Jack Malvern.

The sketch, featuring a Pink Knight, has turned up in Michael Palin’s private archive at the British Library. …

It begins with a knight standing “in a slightly camp pose” who declares that King Arthur cannot cross a bridge unless the king gives him a kiss. “None of those sort of pecking ones the French try to get away with,” he says.

Arthur resists the Pink Knight’s advances and the two grapple before falling over, their armour entangled. At this point a group of pilgrims pass by and tut as the king protests that it is not what it looks like. …

Palin’s archive includes minutes from a script meeting that describe the Pink Knight as “not an obvious poof or anything”. The notes continue: “Only when we see Arthur’s reaction to him are we aware of Arthur’s very old-fashioned and defensive attitude to pooves.”

Palin said that the sketch would not be written today. “I think probably it wouldn’t be quite the same because the establishment attitude has changed quite a lot,” he said. “When we were writing Python in 1973 there was much more homophobia – or rather not homophobia exactly, but awkwardness of dealing with the whole subject of homosexuality.

“That was the key point to writing comedy. It was to find a point where people were a bit confused or had contrasting views, and [that included] people making rather absurd remarks about gayness. Nowadays that may not be as funny because we’ve changed a lot in our attitude since then.”

The famous black knight scene: