When I think of ‘Female actresses in Monty Python’ I instantly think of Carol Cleveland, she was the only significant female actress they used. Other female actresses appeared in Monty Python films, but only in very short and brief scenes. Like Connie Booth, who played The Witch ( It’s a fair cop ) and Joni Flynn the girl in the castle. One of my favoritesis Bee Duffell Carol the old Crone in Holy Grail, who was taunted by King Arthur by asking NI.
Carol, the London born California-raised actress now 75 appeared in 34 out of the 45 episodes of ‘ The Flying Circus ‘. She appeared as ZOOT and Dingo the twin temptresses in Holy Grail. She also played the scantily clad housewife who lured milkmen to their death in ‘ Seduced milkmen ‘ in The flying circus Tv series.
Before Monty Python, Carol was a playboy bunny and wasn’t shy about showing her voluptuous figure. But Carol always refused to go topless. In Carol’s autobiography Which we found on AMAZON for $12.99 she tell’s of a time when Monty Python team wanted her to go topless. Carol said… ” There was one sketch in the early days and we were doing some location filming on Torquay beach and I was being chased by a man-eating desk ( Like you do ). I was this Marilyn Monroe type and I was dressed in a white fur coat and a lacy dress underneath with a lace bra. My Bra was supposed to come off after being trapped in a cactus. I was supposed to run past John Cleese and he was supposed to say” and ” NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETLEY DIFFERENT”
” We had a huge crowd of people on the beach and this was early in the day. I did not fancy running around topless in front of all those people
That was the only time Carol said NO to the Monty Python gang. They ended up filming her running away from the crowds so you only saw her back.
Carol who was married to the actor Peter Brett between 1971 and 1983, worked in the famous Park lane club as a playboy bunny. She was one of the very first Playboy bunnies in the club when it opened it’s doors for the first time in London.
When Carol was first given the scripts for Monty Pythons Flying circus, carol read them and went home to her Mother and said ” Mother I don’t get these scripts and it’s not very funny, I don’t think the show will last very long” How wrong she was.
Michael Palin came up to Carol during rehearsals and said ” I’m sorry we don’t have more for you to do, we’re not very good at writing parts for women” Maybe this is why most of the female characters are played by the Pythons themselves. Good examples are The Pepperpots. Two weeks after saying this to Carol, Michael Palin came over to Carol during filming and said ” Darling, we’ve got a great part for you in episode nine, carol replied ‘ I’m only here for four episodes?” to that, Eric Idle and John cleese came over and said ” Carol we want you, we don’t want anyone else” The rest is history. Carol went on to film a total of 34 episodes of Flying circus and also appeared in the Famous Monty Python movies and entered the history books as the ONLY FEMALE PYTHON.
Carol Cleveland was to return to the Monty Python team to appear in their reunion live shows at the O2 arena in London for 10 live shows. Eric idle called her one day and said ” We’re doing 10 live shows and you have to come” Carol asked if it was going to be like the famous live show at the Hollywood bowls? Yes.. Replied Eric. She asked if everyone would be there including John, as he had missed their last performance at the Hollywood bowl. Yes.. even John replied Eric.
Their live show was a massive success and sold out in under two minutes. ! We found a copy on DVD on Amazon CLICK HERE
For me I always enjoyed the male actors playing female parts, HELLS GRANNIES a prime example, but It was always nice to see Carol Cleveland from time to time. I remember the part she played in THE ARGUMENT CLINIC where she stumbles a little saying the price. I love how they kept that mistakes in the scene, It made it feel alive and fresh.
No matter who’s your favorite actor or actress was in Monty Python, there’s no doubt Carol Cleveland had a big part to play in both the series and films.
I would like to say ” Thank you Carol, for being a part of my personal Monty Python experience”