English Comedian Eric Idle

Eric Idle

London Academy of Media Film TV

EARLY LIFE

In Harton Village, South Shields, County Durham, on 29th March, 1943, Eric Idle was born to Ernest Idle, who served in the Royal Air Force during World War II, and a health visitor called Nora Barron. Unfortunately his father was killed in 1945 on Christmas Eve in a hitchhiking accident. His mother struggled to raise her child while working a full time job, so at the age of seven, Idle was boarded at the Royal Wolverhampton School.  At that time, the school was a charitable foundation that helped children who had lost one or both of their parents. Idle commented that it was a harsh environment for a child, and he got on by being smart and subversive to authority figures which helped to train him for his later career.

SUCCESS OUT OF BOREDOM

Out of sheer boredom, he studied hard and got himself a place on an English course at Pembroke College at the University of Cambridge and was later invited to become a member of the Cambridge University Footlights Club. It was there that he met his future Python colleagues John Cleese and Graham Chapman. He later became president of the club in 1965 and was the first to let women join up. While at Cambridge, Idle starred opposite Michael Palin and Terry Jones in the children’s TV show Do Not Adjust Your Set, for which Terry Gilliam produced the Animations. Along with Cleese, Chapman, Palin and Jones, Idle formed the group known as Monty Python.

MONTY PYTHON’S FLYING CIRCUS

When writing for Monty Python, Idle preferred to work alone, but the lack of a partner sometimes presented trouble for him when showing his material to the group, which Cleese admitted was a little unfair at times, since he only had one vote on whether or not to go with the sketch. But Idle was very independent and worked best on his own.

Eric Idle

Due to his age, Idle was closest to the teenage and student fanbase that followed Python. Maybe due to this, many of the sketches involving contemporary and often ‘naughty’ subjects were written by Idle, such as “Nudge Nudge”. Idle was also the creator of many of the Python’s songs, perhaps most famously Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, which featured at the end of the 1979 Python film Life of Brian. Python also made two other feature films called Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975) and Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life (1983).

POST PYTHON

Since Python, Idle has done work for Radio and TV, including a sketch show on BBC2 entitled Rutland Weekend Television which spawned an affectionate parody band of The Beatles, called The Rutles, which became popular, even with fans of The Beatles changing the sleeves on their LPs to show The Rutles. Later on, Idle took starring roles in popular movies such as Nuns on the Run (1990) alongside Robbie Coltrane.

As well as incredible successes, Idle was in the starring role for the 1998 film Burn Hollywood Burn, which was awarded the Worst Picture of the Decade at the Golden Raspberry Awards, which added to the four other ‘Razzies’ it won at the ceremony. Idle has sometimes been criticized by the other Python members for commercializing the legacy.

PERSONAL LIFE

Idle still works very hard and is highly regarded as a great actor, comedian and songwriter, and in his personal life, has two children. His son is called Carey, born in 1973 to his first wife of six years, Lyn Ashley, whom he married in 1969. His daughter was born in 1990 to his current wife, Tania Kosevich, with whom he married in 1981.

“Nudge Nudge” – try acting today at London Academy

English Actor Rowan Atkinson

London Academy of Media Film TV

EARLY LIFE

On 6th January 1955, Rowan Sebastian Atkinson was born as the youngest of 3 brothers in Consett, County Durham, England to Ella May and Eric Atkinson, a company director and a farmer.  Atkinson’s brother, Rodney, is a Eurosceptic economist, and in 2000 almost won the leadership election for the United Kingdom Independence Party.  His other brother is called Rupert. Atkinson was educated at Durham Choristers School, followed by St. Bees School and also Newcastle University.  He went on to study an MS degree in Electrical Engineering at The Queen’s College, Oxford.

While Atkinson was studying at Oxford, he performed sketches and acted for the Oxford University Dramatic Society, the Experimental Theater Club and also the Oxford Revue during which time he met his future collaborators Howard Goodall, a composer, and Richard Curtis, a writer.  In 1978, Atkinson and Curtis wrote a series of comedy shows together for BBC Radio 3 called Atkinson People.

TV SUCCESS

After Atkinson finished university, he toured with Angus Deayton and his funny man. Eventually, the act was filmed for a television show, the success of which led them to create a pilot for ITV called Canned Laughter in 1979.  Atkinson then went on to become a sketch writer for Not the Nine O’Clock News in which he also starred, alongside Mel Smith, Pamela Stephenson and Griff Rhys Jones.  The success of the show led to a starring role in the 1983 series which he co-wrote with Richard Curtis called The Blackadder, a sitcom set in medieval times.  The series was a huge hit, and over the next few years, a further 3 series were written called Blackadder II (1986) set in the Elizabethan era, Blackadder the Third (1987) set in the Regency era and finally Blackadder Goes Forth (1989), set in World War I.  The series became one of the most successful sitcoms of all time.

BEAN THERE, DONE THAT

On New Year’s Day 1990, a half-hour special was shown on Thames Television about Mr. Bean.  The show followed the antics of the hapless character in his daily routine, causing chaos wherever he went.  Several sequels were made throughout the 1990’s and they are still enjoyed by large audiences across the world.  The success of Mr. Bean led to a motion picture being produced in 1997 called Bean, which was directed by his former Not the Nine O’Clock News co-star, Mel Smith.  In 2007, a second movie was released entitled Mr. Bean’s Holiday.  He also starred in another popular TV series written by Ben Elton called The Thin Blue Line in 1995 and 1996.

Since 1983, Atkinson has enjoyed much success on the big screen too, with a supporting role in Never Say Never Again, an ‘unofficial’ James Bond movie, a leading part opposite Nigel Hawthorne in Dead on Time, and in 1994, he boosted his recognition with a part in Four Weddings and a Funeral, where he played a bumbling vicar. Atkinson also starred in a parody of James Bond entitled Johnny English, which was based on a long-running series of adverts he starred in for Barclaycard.

A PASSION FOR CARS

Atkinson is married to Sunetra Sastry who was working for the BBC as a makeup artist when they met. They married in New York in 1990 and have two children.  Atkinson also led some of the UK’s most prominent writers and actors to the British Parliament in a coalition to try and force a review of the controversial Racial and Religious Hatred Act.

Atkinson enjoys a passion for cars, and since he is worth an estimated ₤100 million, he is able to indulge himself.  He owns a sizeable collection including a McLaren F1 supercar, but has said that he would never own a Porsche.

Rowan would have “BEAN” and electrical engineer… Are you on the right path? – try acting today at London Academy