Eric Idle convinced his Monty Python castmates to let him use their work in hit musical SPAMALOT, by playing them a song he had written for the show.

Michael Palin, John Cleese, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam feared the play may damage the Monty Python legacy - but were soon won over.

And Idle was proved right - Spamalot has been a hit on Broadway, New York, won a host of Tony Awards and transferred to London's West End.

He says, "That was the hardest thing - to persuade them that this was something that would go well. We played them The Song That Goes Like This and they cracked up. That was the secret of it."