Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition

Nobody Expects The Spanish Inquisition

Part of a series on Monty Python. [View Related Entries]

Updated Apr 08, 2014 at 04:00PM EDT by Brad.

Added Jan 30, 2012 at 02:12PM EST by Triple Zed.

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“Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition” is a memorable quote from the sketch comedy television show Monty Python’s Flying Circus uttered in reference to a Catholic tribunal established by the Spanish monarchy in 1481 to ensure Christian orthodoxy.[2]


On September 22nd, 1970, the first “Spanish Inquisition” sketch was aired in Season 2 Episode 2 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus (shown below). On several occasions throughout the sketch, an English townsman says “I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition” in retort to a woman’s incessant questioning, which would prompt a group of men dressed in Spanish Catholic robes to storm into the house and proclaim “Nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition!”

As one of the most celebrated sketches from Monty Python’s Flying Circus, the catchphrase has been referenced and parodied in many other works of comedy and fiction in popular culture, beginning with its inclusion in Issue #3 of the DC comic book series Batman Family published in January 1976.


On June 29th, 2000,[4] user Lesietta Wehs submitted a fanfiction inspired by the Monty Python sketch and set in the Star Wars science fiction universe. On May 9th, 2004, YTMND user SailorAmaya submitted a page featuring a screen captured image from the sketch (shown below) with a looped audio track playing the phrase “Nobody expects a Spanish Inquisition!” In the next nine years, more than 40 additional Spanish Inquisition YTMNDs were created.[3]

On May 18th, Urban Dictionary[1] user jiffy pop submitted an entry for “spanish inqusition,” which referenced theMonty Python’s Flying Circus sketch. On July 24th, 2007, YouTuber chillial uploaded a video containing three different Spanish Inquisition Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketches (shown below), which garnered upwards of 1.56 million views and 1,800 comments in the next six years.

On February 14th, 2009, Yahoo Answers[6] member Saturday submitted a post asking the meaning of the question “I didn’t expect a kind of Spanish Inquisition,” to which user Shaker replied that it is used to complain about being asked too many questions. On July 14th, the online retailer ThinkGeek[7] began selling Spanish Inquisition T-shirts with the words “The Spanish Inquisition / Expected by Nobody Since 1970” printed on a black shield (shown below).

On February 7th, 2010, a Facebook[5] page titled “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” was launched. On April 30th, 2012, Redditor guynumberthree submitted a post to the /r/AskHistorians[8] subreddit, questioning whether anyone expected the Spanish Inquisition in the past. On July 23rd, 2013, YouTuber Disco the Parakeet uploaded a montage of video clips featuring a parakeet named Disco attempting to say “Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” (shown below). In the first 72 hours, the video accumulated more than 195,000 views and 250 comments.

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