During filming for City of Death Cleese and Tom Baker filmed a short spoof on the story's Louvre set for BBC's in-house Christmas tape. The sketch, in which Cleese asks Baker for an autograph for his godson, is available as an easter egg on the story's DVD.
Best known for his work on Monty Python's Flying Circus (a series to which Douglas Adams also contributed), Cleese moved on from Python to star in the classic sitcom Fawlty Towers (which was in production around the time of his Doctor Who appearance), and in the 1980s established himself as an acclaimed character actor, with roles ranging from the dramatic, as in the western Silverado, to the comic, such as his Emmy Award-winning turn on Cheers. His writing has also been acclaimed, most notably when he got an Oscar nod for his A Fish Called Wanda script.
From 1999-2003 he was part of the James Bond film franchise as Q, appearing in 1999's The World Is Not Enough and 2002's Die Another Day. He also had a recurring role in the Harry Potter films as Nearly Headless Nick.
Although most of the Monty Python team have been rumoured to be considered for the role of the Doctor, Cleese remains as of 2015[update] the only one to actually appear on the series.
In the Doctor Who universe Edit
John Cleese was referenced by name in the novel Timeless in connection to one of his Monty Python sketches set in a chemist's shop. In the novel Spiral Scratch, the Sixth Doctor said that "John and Connie" (Booth) were good friends of his, justifying his immediate recognition of a Fawlty Towers quote. In the comic story TV Action!, Beep the Meep visited another universe and hypnotised a number of 1970s light-entertainment stars, including Cleese and his Fawlty Towers co-star Prunella Scales.