occurrences of ‘the full monty’ from 1989 to 1994

In a Lancashire phrase: ‘the full monty’, I explained:
– that the full monty, first recorded in 1975, apparently originated in Lancashire, in north-western England, in the sense of everything which is necessary, appropriate or possible,
– that the British film The Full Monty (1997) popularised the use of the phrase in the sense of a striptease performance involving full nudity.

I also explained that the second-earliest occurrence that I have found of the full monty supports, to some extent, the theory that:
– the second element reflects a colloquial shortening of Montague in Montague Burton, the name of a British chain of outfitters,
– the phrase originally referred to the purchase of a complete three-piece suit.

The following are the occurrences of the full monty that I have found for the period from 1989 to 1994.


The phrase occurs in Diary, by Judy Rumbold, published in The Guardian (London and Manchester, England) of Thursday 28th September 1989:

The search continues for a skeleton for London’s North Bank Theatre production of Treasure Island. By Tuesday, the response to advertisements amounted to a few offers of bags of assorted old bones and a plastic replica. “What we’re after is a live skeleton — the Full Monty”, said the stage manager.


The following advertisement for a motor car appeared in the Evening Sentinel (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England) of Friday 7th December 1990:

B.X. 19 RD, 1986, 5-door, electric windows/locking, full stereo, full test, full monty, serviced every 3,000 miles, any trial invited, £3,500 o.n.o. 1 — Tel. 328664.

1 o.n.o.: abbreviation of or nearest offer

The Scouse footballer Terry Darracott (born 1950) used the phrase in an interview published in the Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, Merseyside, England) of Friday 21st December 1990—in this interview, he reflects on his career, twenty-five years after taking up football full time at the age of 15:

“I have gone through the full ‘monty’ in that time. I think the only thing I didn’t do was cut the grass and, if I’d been asked, I would have done that.”


The caption to this photograph, published in Sunday Life (Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland) of Sunday 21st February 1993, puns on the phrase—the goal that David Montgomery, nicknamed Monty, scored against Glentoran Football Club had secured the victory of his team, Carrick Rangers Football Club, in the County Antrim Shield final:

'the full monty' - Sunday Life (Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland) - 21 February 1993

THE FULL MONTY . . . Carrick’s Co Antrim Shield hero David Montgomery (left) salutes the fans after Tuesday’s game

Published in the Evening Herald (Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland) of Friday 26th February 1993, an advertisement for a golf sale contained the following:

Fantastic P.G.F. 2 packages, the full Monty, 9 irons, 3 woods, bag, trolley, was £550, now £250

2 P.G.F. (for Precision Golf Forging) is the name of a golf-equipment manufacturing firm founded in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, in 1932.

Eddie Butler used the phrase in Idiots kicking rugby to death, published in The Observer (London, England) of Sunday 20th June 1993:

It was some lunatic of a prop in South Africa called Gary Pagel, who compounded all the drug nastiness surrounding Andries Truscott, the Northern Transvaal hooker who tested positive in the Super Ten series, by stamping on the face of the French captain, Jean-François Tordo. This was no mere repetition of the Dean Richards incident in the North Harbour-Lions match of 26 May, when the Leicester No 8 stamped on the head of Frank Bunce. Pagel’s was the full Monty — 50 stitches in Tordo’s face, in an operation lasting two-and-a-half hours under the supervision of a plastic surgeon.

The British journalist and novelist John Lanchester (born 1962) used the phrase in a restaurant review published in The Observer (London, England) of Sunday 7th November 1993:

The service at China Court varies from offhand to outright rude. Two will pay about £10 to £15 for dim sum, £20 to £30 for the full monty.

In the following from the Rock Music section of the Irish Independent (Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland) of Tuesday 14th December 1993, the phrase is used attributively:

Something Happens! play their first standing-up, all-limbs-back-in-action gig since guitarist Ray Harman’s attempt to emulate Icarus in Gibney’s of Malahide tomorrow night. This will be the full monty, all-electric show, although it’s back to the acoustics for an evening in Whelan’s on Friday.

In 1993, the Cockney comedian Jim Davidson (born 1953) published his autobiography, titled The Full Monty, in which he revealed, in particular, that he became a drug dealer at the age of 19—source: The Journal (Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England) of Monday 27th September 1993.

In 1993 too, Granada Television, the ITV contractor for the north-west of England, produced The Full Monty, a sketch show written by, and starring, Caroline Aherne (1963-2016) and John Thomson (born 1969). This show started a six-week run on Friday 29th October 1993—source: The British Newspaper Archive.

Allusions to Monty Python

In 1993, the phrase was sometimes used with punning reference to Monty Python, the name of a British comedy group who created the television series Monty Python’s Flying Circus (1969-74).

The following is from the column Inside Sport, by Ian Bayley, published in the Evening Sentinel (Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England) of Thursday 7th October 1993—Stoke City F.C. had been defeated two goals to nil by Manchester United F.C. at Old Trafford, in Greater Manchester, England:

United’s full Monty puts paid to Stoke Cola Cup hopes
City joy fades on field of dreams

Always look on the bright side of life 3, sang the Monty Python crew at the end of another big Old Trafford evening.
It was hard to think of any words more apt as Stoke kissed goodbye to the Coca Cola Cup.
Disappointing it certainly was as dreams of Cup glory fizzled out into just another tale of gallant failure.
But the favourite ditty of the Manchester United fans at least bore a message of hope in the early weeks of a promisingly unfurling season.
Stoke can indeed look on the bright side of life if they maintain the high levels of efforts, determination and workrate they showed last night.

3 Written by the English comedian, author and musician Eric Idle (born 1943), Always Look on the Bright Side of Life first featured in the 1979 film Monty Python’s Life of Brian; it has become a common singalong at public events such as football matches.

Another use of the full monty with reference to Monty Python occurs in The Kingston Informer (London, England) of Friday 8th October 1993:

Beans means the full Monty.
Monty Python fans were in for a treat last weekend.
A silly walk competition, bean and Spam eating 4 race and an upper class twit of the year contest were part of the Monty Python weekend at the Antelope Pub, in Surbiton.
Assistant manager Rob Tickner said the event was part of the Pub Celebration Week, organised by Whitbread pubs across the country.

4 This alludes to the 1970 Monty Python sketch Spam, set in a cafe in which every item on the menu includes Spam®, a tinned meat product made mainly from ham; this sketch apparently gave rise to spam, meaning, as a verb, to send the same message indiscriminately to (a large number of Internet users), and as a noun, irrelevant or unsolicited messages sent over the Internet.


In The Observer (London, England) of Sunday 20th March 1994, the title of an article by Derek Lawrenson about the Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie (born 1963), nicknamed Monty, was:

The full Monty seeks a major

Likewise, the phrase occurs in the caption to the following photograph featuring Colin Montgomerie and the South African golfer Ernie Els (born 1969), who were competing in the U.S. Open—photograph published in the Daily Express (London, England) of Monday 20th June 1994:

FULL MONTY: Montgomerie booms another drive down the fairway yesterday and Els (inset) studies a putt

The following is from the Evening Express (Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Scotland) of Thursday 26th May 1994:

CAMEO KISS: Caroline Quentin 5 has blown the whistle on Gary Lineker’s kissing technique—it’s too tame. She had to kiss the soccer star during his cameo appearance in a TV film An Evening with Gary Lineker 6. Her husband, Paul Merton, co-stars in the film, being shown on ITV on Tuesday, June 14. Caroline said of Lineker: “He is a bit Enid Blyton on the snogging front. He didn’t really do the full Monty.”

5 Caroline Quentin (Caroline Jones – born 1960) is an English actress and television presenter.
6 Gary Lineker (born 1960) is an English former footballer.

According to Andrew Preston in the preview of An Evening With Gary Lineker, published in the Daily Express (London, England) of Tuesday 14th June 1994, Caroline Quentin said the following of Gary Lineker:

“When it came to the kiss he didn’t really go the full Monty. He was a bit Enid Blyton on the snogging front.”

Alasdair Steven used the phrase with reference to Monty, the nickname of the British Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery (1887-1976), in a book review published in the Kensington News (London, England) of Thursday 16th June 1994—the use of literally perhaps indicates that Alasdair Steven thought that the full monty originally alluded to Bernard Law Montgomery’s nickname:

The full Monty, literally
D-Day has come and gone but for those who would like to know more about the operation no book captures the excitement and bravery better than The Lonely Leader: Monty 1944-45 (MacMillan £16.99).
Written by the Field Marshall’s son[s] David and Alistair Horne, it explores Monty’s political beliefs and military tactics and goes into the thorny question of his relationship with Eisenhower.

In The Guardian (London and Manchester, England) of Monday 22nd August 1994, David Davies used the phrase punningly when recounting how the Scottish golfer Colin Montgomerie won the Murphy’s English Open:

Montgomerie also hit a four-iron to the 210yd 18th, where he needed a birdie to beat Lane; he hit it to 10ft. It was this for the full Monty, so to speak, and he holed it.

Russell Nash used the phrase attributively in this review of The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, published in The Stage and Television Today (London, England) of Thursday 1st September 1994:

The Dave Schneider Show
Dave Schneider – Top Man. An old fashioned rubber faced clown who does rock n’ Roll satire, stand-up, mime and sketches is a first rate comedy performer.
A full monty entrance, complete with dry ice and a soundtrack by The Cure, heralds a frenetic gallor [sic] through television, football, movies, karaoke, acid house and helpful advice on how to behave in the Assembly Rooms bar.
Best known for doing the weather on BBC2’s The Day Today, Schneider is a sort of cross between Mr Bean, Rabbi Blue and a wayward giraffe. Full marks also for managing to give out his agent’s phone number at least six times in an hour.

The Welsh singer-songwriter, musician and record producer James Dean Bradfield (born 1969) used the phrase of the Welsh musician and lyricist Richard Edwards (born 1967 – disappeared 1995), according to an article about the Welsh rock band Manic Street Preachers published in The Sunday Tribune (Dublin, County Dublin, Ireland) of Sunday 4th September 1994:

Guitarist Richie Edwards is currently receiving psychiatric treatment — carving the words ‘4 Real’ on his arm with a razor is but one of the reasons.
“Richie is drugged up to a normal state,” reveals James casually. “He’d got self-abusive in all kinds of ways, so he went into hospital for his own safety. The self-abuse reached an alarming state. Sometimes you’d talk to him, and he’d be OK. Other times, he’d say something that would set the alarm bells ringing. He’s not the full monty yet.”

The phrase was used with punning reference to Monty Python’s Flying Circus in this announcement published in The Journal (Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England) of Saturday 10th September 1994—the article published in The Journal of Monday 12th September 1994 was titled Nudge, nudge, wink, wink: Know what I mean?:

The full Monty – Celebrate 25 years of Python palaver in Monday’s Journal

John Lanchester wrote the following about the disappearance of flock wallpaper in Indian restaurants, in The Observer (London, England) of Sunday 25th September 1994:

These days when you go into an Indian restaurant—and, by the way, I’m using ‘Indian’ in the colloquial sense, since the overwhelming majority of these restaurants are Bangladeshi-owned and run—you seem to encounter the old-fashioned full-monty style of décor less and less often.

The following are extracts from the diary that the Swazi-English actor Richard E. Grant (Richard Grant Esterhuysen – born 1957) kept during the filming in 1994 of Prêt-à-Porter (1994), a U.S. satirical comedy-drama film co-written, directed and produced by Robert Altman (1925-2006)—diary published in The Observer (London, England) on Sunday 30th October 1994:

Tuesday 8 March
[…] I am met by an assistant and marched off to the makeshift dressing and make-up area. Suitcases are opened to reveal a make-up mirror, lightbulbs and full Monty of creams, lotions and mascaras. […]
Wednesday 16 March
A perfect example of the apparently ‘loose’ way in which he [= Altman] works is borne out in a scene I have with Forest Whitaker, who plays a rival designer in the movie, and with whom I have to kiss in some ‘romantic setting’. […]
[…] By not making a brouhaha about our snog and leaving it up to us to go as far or short of the full Monty as we like, it dissipates any tension, and we offer up a variety of the old lipsuck that we mightn’t have done if someone had done a ‘caring and sharing’ director schtick on it.

Maureen Paton used the phrase in the review of Peter Hall’s production of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Gielgud Theatre, London—review published in the Daily Express (London, England) of Monday 7th November 1994:

The director gives us the full monty of four hours, with the first half taking up nearly three of them.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.