14 March 2008


Have you ever seen the film, "Monty Python and The Holy Grail"? Well I was in it! I guess the Monty Python team invaded Scotland in the summer of 1974 when I was an undergraduate at Stirling University. A couple of posters had gone up around the students' union advertising for film extras though we had no idea what the film would be or anything. All I knew is that I would get paid over the weekend and enjoy some free nosh. It was a lovely warm summery weekend up on the moors above Stirling.

Wikipedia says -"In the closing battle scene, shots facing "Castle Aaaaarrrrrrggghhh" were filmed at Castle Stalker but the shots looking the other way towards the huge army were filmed later on Sheriffmuir near Stirling once they had managed to get enough people - one of them being author Iain Banks, then a student, as he recounts in his non-fiction work Raw Spirit."
We were up on Sheriffmuir throughout Saturday and most of Sunday in our medieval costumes. I was a French soldier and I came over the hill with the rest of the French army. I was also very briefly filmed sharpening a spear - but you only see my hands. And I recall meeting John Cleese down by the catering caravan. He seemed rather off-hand - perhaps he was knackered - or maybe he simply didn't realise he was talking to the great Yorkshire Pudding.
After this film debut, I waited by my phone for years - expecting Hollywood to ring - though they never did. I saw my name in lights - "Yorkshire Pudding and The Temple of Doom", "Confessions of a Yorkshire Pudding", "Carry On Yorkshire Pudding" - in which I would chase Barbara Windsor into a lush shubbery from where her cheeky laughter would emerge - "Ooo! Mr Pudding you are naughty!"

By the way, the later-to-become-author Iain Banks was a rather dull cerebral young fellow. He was in a couple of my seminar groups and occasionally I would stuff him intellectually - though with hindsight I perhaps should have got more pally with the little wimp - I could have been his literary chauffeur!


  1. John Cleese, Iain Banks...You walk with giants sir....
    I have the movie, however there are very few sheep in it. A mistake I think

  2. Hey, fame at last, YP! Never mind, I'm sure someone will read your post and ring you very soon with a very acceptable film offer. Would there be room for a classy, 'young' ex-teacher in your meteoric rise to fame? Oh, go on, pleeeease!

  3. but YP old chap, wasn't that you who rushes in to announce 'there's trouble at mill!' in the spanish inquisition sketch as well?

  4. I'll look for your hands sharpening a spear next time I watch "Holy Grail," though I'll admit, I am more of a "Life of Brian" fan. Were you in that? I thought I recognized you as the Roman soldier giving the plebe a lesson in Latin graffiti.

  5. Dear readers, I humbly accept your unbridled adulation!
    DAVID - Not all filmgoers have a fetish about sheep you know! Is it true that the favourite all-time films in NZ are "Silence of the Lambs" an "The Big Sheep"?
    JENNYTA - You could be my "personal assistant" in my dressing room or trailer. Those selfsame words "Oh go on pleeeese!" would often be heard by passing gaffers or best boys!
    RILLY SUPER - Actually I rejected that part as it stereotyped the northern male. Michel Palin begged me to take it but I stood my ground.
    ALKELDA THE GLEEFUL - No I was not in "Life of Brian". Were you in "Sleepless in Seattle"? I thought I recognised you as the cleaner swishing a mop in the background! Art as life or life as art!

  6. I thought about being an extra in the 'Atonement' Dunkirk scenes at Redcar YP, but there was a sight risk I might have been asked to be french, and a Hollywood career and fame and fortune just aren't worth that much

  7. Oooh, how exciting! Please may I have your autograph?


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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