South Shields-born Eric Idle pays tribute to fellow Monty Python star Terry Jones

Comedian, musician and writer Eric Idle has led the tributes to his Monty Python colleague Terry Jones, who has died aged 77 after suffering from dementia for a number of years.

Wednesday, 22nd January 2020, 4:33 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 1:44 am
South Shields-born Eric Idle, seen here at the back while filming The Life of Brian in 1979, with Monty Python colleagues from left, Michael Palin, John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Gillam and Terry Jones, who has died aged 77.

The pair had been friends and collaborators for almost six decades. They worked together on a several television projects, before teaming up with Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Graham Chapman and John Cleese to create Monty Python’s Flying Circus, first broadcast in 1969.

One of Python’s most famous sketches, Nudge, Nudge, was written by Idle which he then performed with Jones.

South Shields-born Idle, 76, tweeted: “Thank you all for your kind thoughts and messages of support for our dearly beloved brother Terry. It is a cruel and sad thing. But let’s remember just what joy he brought to all of us.”

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South Shields-born Eric Idle, furthest left, has paid tribute to his Monty Python colleague Terry Jones, second left, who has died aged 77. Also pictured, from left, are Graham Chapman, Michael Palin and John Cleese.

“I loved him the moment I saw him on stage at the Edinburgh Festival in 1963. So many laughs, moments of total hilarity onstage and off we have all shared with him.

“It’s too sad if you knew him, but if you didn’t you will always smile at the many wonderfully funny moments he gave us.”

After the television show ended in 1974, Idle, Jones and the others went on to make three Python films: Monty Python and The Holy Grail, The Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life.

The Holy Grail was later used by Idle as the basis for his musical comedy Spamalot, which continues to be a global smash.

Graham Chapman passed away in 1989. The remaining five re-formed for the last time in 2014 at London’s O2 Arena for 10 live shows entitled Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go. Tickets for the first night sold out in 43 seconds.

Michael Palin said: “You will be very missed old friend. I feel very fortunate to have shared so much of my life with Terry.”

John Cleese tweeted: “Just heard about Terry J. It feels strange that a man of so many talents and such endless enthusiasm, should have faded so gently away…

“Of his many achievements, for me the greatest gift he gave us all was his direction of Life of Brian. Perfection.

“Two down, four to go.”