10 British TV Shows That Crossed the Pond

'Monty Python's Flying Circus'
The Monty Python sketch comedy group circa 1970. Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"And now for something completely different." That catchphrase captured the essence of the irreverent British comedy sketch show. Debuting on the BBC in 1969, "Python" landed on American public television channels in 1974 [source: BBC America -- Monty Python]. By 1975, the bizarre antics of the show's stars -- Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin -- made it one of the best-rated PBS series of its time [source: Rozen]. After the series ended, its cast collaborated on three films, including "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." In fact, the Broadway hit "Spamalot" was based on that film, and won the Tony Award for Best Musical of the 2004–2005 season and received 14 Tony Award nominations. Though all six actors also had successful individual careers, the legacy of Monty Python remained.

"Monty Python's Flying Circus" introduced unforgettable iconic sketches, such as the cheese shop that's completely out of cheese. Then there's the pet store clerk who sold a dead parrot and won't let the customer return it -- ignoring the obviously stiff carcass, the salesman insists the Norwegian blue parrot is, alternately, resting, stunned, sad or tired. Equally memorable is the café that specializes in Spam. A customer reluctantly listens as a waitress and her inexplicable chorus of Vikings extol the virtues of the processed meat. Completely different, indeed.