My Favourite Monty Python Moment Was Splitting Up, Says Idle

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THE HAPPY coming together of the Monty Python comedy troupe to celebrate its 30th anniversary this weekend has been tainted by an outburst of anti-Python feeling by one of its members.

Eric Idle, answering readers' questions in today's Independent, has backed up his recent protestations of uninterest in the anniversary by admitting that he was glad that the Pythons split up.

He also claims that he can only contemplate working on Python material if he does so away from the rest of the group, and says that John Cleese is an "alpha male".

Idle, who has been in Britain to promote a novel, has returned to his home in Los Angeles before a gala screening of Monty Python's Life of Brian in London tomorrow. The fourother surviving Pythons are due to attend the screening, which is being held to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Relief charity in memory of Graham Chapman, their colleague who died 10 years ago.

Asked by a reader if he regrets that the Pythons went their separate ways, Idle responds: "No. I am exceedingly grateful. I have had a wonderful time over the past 16 years and I would like to thank them all personally for it." When asked what persuaded him to write new material for the 30th anniversary special, which is to be broadcast on BBC2 this weekend, he said: "I have discovered I really don't mind doing Monty Python, providing none of the others are around. …