Mar. 29th, 1943
South Shields, Tyne and Wear, England, UK
Guest TV Roles
Declan Desmond (Voiced)
Idle was born in South Shields, County Durham, U.K., in Harton village, which is now part of Tyne and Wear. His mother, Nora Barron (née Sanderson), was a health visitor, and his father, Ernest Idle, served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, only to be killed in a hitch-hiking accident shortly after the war. His mother had difficulty coping with a full-time job and bringing up a child so, when Idle was seven, she enrolled him in the Royal Wolverhampton School as a boarder. At this time the school was a charitable foundation dedicated to the education and maintenance of children who had lost one or both parents. Idle is quoted as saying: "It was a physically abusive, bullying, harsh environment for a kid to grow up in. I got used to dealing with groups of boys and getting on with life in unpleasant circumstances and being smart and funny and subversive at the expense of authority. Perfect training for Python."
Idle stated that the two things that made his life bearable were listening to Radio Luxembourg under the bedclothes and watching the local football team, Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite this, he disliked other sports and would sneak out of school every Thursday afternoon to the local cinema. Idle was eventually caught watching the X-rated film BUtterfield 8 (suitable for audiences aged sixteen years and over under the contemporary film certificates) and stripped of his prefecture, even though by that time he was head boy. Idle had already refused to be senior boy in the school cadet force, as he supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and had participated in the yearly Aldermaston March. Idle maintains that there was little to do at the school, and boredom drove him to study hard and consequently win a place at Cambridge University.
- 'Steve Martin (I)' (qv) calls him his mentor.
- Defeated 'Charles Barkley' (qv) and 'Martha Stewart (I)' (qv) on a celebrity episode of _"Jeopardy" (2002)_ (qv) in 2002.
- Describes himself as having "creative dyslexia", meaning he can look at any word and automatically see the anagrams that can be made from it. One of the characters he played in "Monty Python's Flying Circus" was a man who speaks only in anagrams.
- The only member of Monty Python not to appear on _"Friday Night, Saturday Morning" (1979)_ (qv).
- The only member of the Monty Python group to write alone. Therefore, it was difficult at times for him to get his material accepted and used by the others.
- Admired by the other Pythons for his circle of friends, it was he who procured part of the production money for _Life of Brian (1979)_ (qv) from former Beatle 'George Harrison (I)' (qv).
- Eric's father, who served in the Royal Air Force, died in a car crash on Christmas eve when he was two years old.
- Supporter of Sunderland Football Club of the English Premiership