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Idle Grateful for Python Breakup

October 6, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ While fans may have been heartbroken when Monty Python broke up in 1983, Eric Idle says he was thrilled.

``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,″ Idle said, responding to questions from readers of The Independent newspaper, which published the answers Wednesday.

Could Idle be joking?

After all, he is promoting a new book, ``The Road to Mars,″ and he is participating with the other surviving Pythons in a 30th anniversary special this weekend on the BBC.

One reader asked Idle why he agreed to participate in providing new material for the special, after once saying the group would never reunite.

He replied: ``I have discovered I really don’t mind doing Monty Python, providing none of the others are around.″

The Independent quoted an unidentified spokeswoman for Idle as saying her boss was trying to be funny.

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