Terry Gilliam uses Monty Python’s iconic giant foot to highlight threat to Athlone House

It is a sight few Highgate residents want to see: historic Athlone House on Hampstead Heath about to be destroyed.

But rather than the bulldozers, Monty Python’s Terry Gilliam has used the comedy troupe’s trademark, a giant bare foot, to illustrate the 19th century mansion’s plight.

The building’s mysterious owners have submitted proposals to demolish the existing house – a former hospital and RAF base – and replace it with an eight-bedroom luxury home.

Substituting the iconic foot of Cupid used in the opening titles of Monty Python’s Flying Circus with a giant grubby hiking boot, Mr Gilliam, who lives in Highgate, has made it look as though Athlone House will be squashed.

He posted the image on his Facebook page, which has more than 200,000 “Likes”, with the message: “Londoners!! Those of you who love Hampstead Heath please help me save Athlone House.

“Please help and sign the petition... before Xmas. It would be a great gift to the Heath.”

The petition can be found at http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/camden-council-save-athlone-house-from-destruction-2.