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Thursday, October 7, 1999 Published at 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK


Eric leaves Pythons standing Idle

Messrs Jones, Gilliam, Palin and Cleese... but no Mr Idle

The remaining members of the Monty Python comedy team gathered in London for a charity screening - but without comedian Eric Idle, after an apparent falling-out.

John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones attended a charity screening of Life of Brian at the Empire cinema in Leicester Square.

But Idle was at home in Los Angeles, and Jones suggested he was angry with his colleagues over aborted plans for a stage show to mark this week's 30th anniversary of the first screening of Monty Python's Flying Circus.

[ image: Eric Idle: Stayed in Los Angeles]
Eric Idle: Stayed in Los Angeles
Terry Jones said: "He actually put a lot of work into the stage stuff and when we all backed out he quite reasonably felt he'd wasted all that time and all that credibility.

"He doesn't want to play with us at the moment."

In a newspaper interview earlier this week, Idle said he had no regrets about the Pythons splitting - adding he would not mind a reunion as long as the others did not turn up. He later said he was joking.

The fivesome did reunite last month to work on new sketches for BBC Two's Monty Python theme night on Saturday.

[ image: Filming new sketches in West London last month]
Filming new sketches in West London last month
The four who did turn up gave a short, staged performance at Thursday's event - organised by the Paramount Comedy Channel to promote its Python anniversary programming.

It also raised money for Macmillan Cancer Relief as a tribute to Python member Graham Chapman, who died ten years ago. Regular Python actress Carol Cleveland also attended the event.

Contemporary comedy stars also attended, including Paul Merton, Fast Show performer Charlie Higson, and Simon Pegg from the Channel 4 sitcom Spaced.

Palin said the groundbreaking nature of the Python series made him feel sorry for newer performers.

"Any comedy gets likened to Python. I think that's a very hard thing to break free from," he said.

Monty Python Night starts at 2055 BST on Saturday on BBC Two.

Click here to visit BBC News Online's Monty Python special.

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