The Spanish Inquisition


In the early years of the 16th century, to combat the rising tide of religious unorthodoxy, the Pope gave Cardinal Ximinez of Spain leave to move without let or hindrance throughout the land, in a reign of violence, terror and torture that makes a smashing film. This was the Spanish Inquisition…

Chapman: Trouble at mill.
Cleveland: Oh no – what kind of trouble?
Chapman: One on’t cross beams gone owt askew on treadle.
Cleveland: Pardon?
Chapman: One on’t cross beams gone owt askew on treadle.
Cleveland: I don’t understand what you’re saying.
Chapman: [slightly irritatedly and with exaggeratedly clear accent] One of the cross beams has gone out askew on the treadle.
Cleveland: Well what on earth does that mean?
Chapman: *I* don’t know – Mr Wentworth just told me to come in here and say that there was trouble at the mill, that’s all – I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.


[The door flies open and Cardinal Ximinez of Spain [Palin] enters, flanked by two junior cardinals. Cardinal Biggles [Jones] has goggles pushed over his forehead. Cardinal Fang [Gilliam] is just Cardinal Fang]

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise…surprise and fear…fear and surprise…. Our two weapons are fear and surprise…and ruthless efficiency…. Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope…. Our *four*…no… *Amongst* our weapons…. Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise…. I’ll come in again.

[The Inquisition exits]

Chapman: I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.



[The cardinals burst in]

Ximinez: NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Amongst our weaponry are such diverse elements as: fear, surprise, ruthless efficiency, an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope, and nice red uniforms – Oh damn!
[To Cardinal Biggles] I can’t say it – you’ll have to say it.
Biggles: What?
Ximinez: You’ll have to say the bit about ‘Our chief weapons are …’
Biggles: [rather horrified]: I couldn’t do that…

[Ximinez bundles the cardinals outside again]

Chapman: I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition.


[The cardinals enter]

Biggles: Er…. Nobody…um….
Ximinez: Expects…
Biggles: Expects… Nobody expects the…um…the Spanish…um…
Ximinez: Inquisition.
Biggles: I know, I know! Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition. In fact, those who do expect –
Ximinez: Our chief weapons are…
Biggles: Our chief weapons are…um…er…
Ximinez: Surprise…
Biggles: Surprise and —
Ximinez: Okay, stop. Stop. Stop there – stop there. Stop. Phew! Ah! … our chief weapons are surprise…blah blah blah. Cardinal, read the charges.
Fang: You are hereby charged that you did on diverse dates commit heresy against the Holy Church. ‘My old man said follow the–‘
Biggles: That’s enough.
[To Cleveland] Now, how do you plead?
Clevelnd: We’re innocent.
Ximinez: Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!


Biggles: We’ll soon change your mind about that!


Ximinez: Fear, surprise, and a most ruthless– [controls himself with a supreme effort] Ooooh! Now, Cardinal — the rack!

[Biggles produces a plastic-coated dish-drying rack. Ximinez looks at it and clenches his teeth in an effort not to lose control. He hums heavily to cover his anger]

Ximinez: You….Right! Tie her down.

[Fang and Biggles make a pathetic attempt to tie her on to the drying rack]

Ximinez:Right! How do you plead?
Clevelnd: Innocent.
Ximinez: Ha! Right! Cardinal, give the rack [oh dear] give the rack a turn.

[Biggles stands their awkwardly and shrugs his shoulders]

Biggles: I….
Ximinez: [gritting his teeth] I *know*, I know you can’t. I didn’t want to say anything. I just wanted to try and ignore your crass mistake.
Biggles: I…
Ximinez: It makes it all seem so stupid.
Biggles: Shall I…?
Ximinez: No, just pretend for God’s sake. Ha! Ha! Ha!

[Biggles turns an imaginary handle on the side of the dish-rack]

[Cut to them torturing a dear old lady, Marjorie Wilde]

Ximinez: Now, old woman — you are accused of heresy on three counts — heresy by thought, heresy by word, heresy by deed, and heresy by action — *four* counts. Do you confess?
Wilde: I don’t understand what I’m accused of.
Ximinez: Ha! Then we’ll make you understand! Biggles! Fetch…THE CUSHIONS!


[Biggles holds out two ordinary modern household cushions]

Biggles: Here they are, lord.
Ximinez: Now, old lady — you have one last chance. Confess the heinous sin of heresy, reject the works of the ungodly — *two* last chances. And you shall be free — *three* last chances. You have three last chances, the nature of which I have divulged in my previous utterance.
Wilde: I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Ximinez: Right! If that’s the way you want it — Cardinal! Poke her with the soft cushions!

[Biggles carries out this rather pathetic torture]

Ximinez: Confess! Confess! Confess!
Biggles: It doesn’t seem to be hurting her, lord.
Ximinez: Have you got all the stuffing up one end?
Biggles: Yes, lord.
Ximinez [angrily hurling away the cushions]: Hm! She is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch…THE COMFY CHAIR!


[Zoom into Fang’s horrified face]

Fang [terrified]: The…Comfy Chair?

[Biggles pushes in a comfy chair — a really plush one]

Ximinez: So you think you are strong because you can survive the soft cushions. Well, we shall see. Biggles! Put her in the Comfy Chair!

[They roughly push her into the Comfy Chair]

Ximinez [with a cruel leer]: Now — you will stay in the Comfy Chair until lunch time, with only a cup of coffee at eleven. [aside, to Biggles] Is that really all it is?
Biggles: Yes, lord.
Ximinez: I see. I suppose we make it worse by shouting a lot, do we? Confess, woman. Confess! Confess! Confess! Confess
Biggles: I confess!
Ximinez: Not you!


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