LETTERS OF NOTE: Eric Idle and John Major

I've been quite hard on Eric Idle in the past, criticising his lazy appearance in Shrek the Third and branding him "the most cynical and money-minded" member of the Monty Python troupe in my review of The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash. But even I, jaded Python fan that I am, will acknowledge that he has his moments - and today's Letter of Note is one of them.
On this day in 1993, Idle celebrated his 50th birthday - as did then-Prime Minister John Major. As highly as we may think of them now, neither man at the time had much cause for celebration. For Major, the 1992 general election win was a distant memory: his party's economic credibility was in ruins after Black Wednesday, and his government would slowly but surely fall apart in the wake of numerous scandals. Idle, for his own part, had just completed work on Splitting Heirs, an awful so-zany-it-hurts so-called comedy co-starring his fellow Python John Cleese.

Idle took the opportunity to write Major a brief letter, seeking to shed a jokey light on what might have been had the two somehow switched places. The letter, which you can read here, is hardly the wittiest thing that Idle ever put to paper, but considering the roasting that Major was getting at the hands of Spitting Image at the time, it probably produced a harmless chuckle in Number 10.
For a further dose of Monty Python mirth, you can check out my review of Monty Python and the Holy Grail or listen to my thoughts on The Movie Hour podcast on Lionheart Radio. For a pinch more politics, I recommend my review of Oliver Stone's Nixon or checking out the (sadly mothballed) Chat Politics channel, co-created by my good friend and fellow journalist Oscar Pearson.