Eric Idle: I feel more grateful after surviving pancreatic cancer

Robbie Williams is the musical guest as The Graham Norton Show returns for a new series.
Robbie Williams is the musical guest as The Graham Norton Show returns for a new series.

Monty Python star Eric Idle has said he feels “more grateful” for life after surviving pancreatic cancer.

The 79-year-old comedian and writer revealed in September that he had received a rare early diagnosis and been successfully treated for the illness.

He has now teamed up with Stand Up To Cancer in a bid to increase awareness for cancer research and recently appeared on the US version of The Masked Singer as part of the campaign.

Appearing on the series launch of the Graham Norton Show, Idle said: “I am definitely more grateful.

Graham Norton Show – London
Eric Idle (Ian West/PA)

“I am very fortunate and hopefully I can do a bit of good by raising money for research.”

He also discussed his stint on The Masked Singer, where he was disguised as a hedgehog and performed a cover of Love Me Do by The Beatles as part of the surreal TV guessing game.

He told Norton: “I thought I could raise awareness.

“I asked Paul McCartney if I could sing Love Me Do. He said, ‘Yes, of course you can,’ then joked, ‘Do let me know me when it airs so I can be sure to miss it’.”

Robbie Williams, who joined Norton in the studio to perform his new single Lost, joked about the cover art of his new album XXV, which shows him naked in the pose of Rodin’s sculpture The Thinker.

XXV marks the 25th anniversary of his solo career and contains a selection of his greatest hits – including Angel, Let Me Entertain You and Millennium – reworked with an orchestra.

Graham Norton Show – London
Robbie Williams (Ian West/PA)

Williams joked: “It’s just Angels 25 times.

“My weight yo-yos, so I thought it would be nice to have evidence that I once looked like that.

“I loved the idea of the Rodin-style pose but I didn’t take into account that I would have to be naked in front of 30 strangers.”

Speaking about being recognised less often in the US, he added: “I was in a gay club in LA and was dancing hard – going at it loads like it was 1990s Manchester and this guy came up to me and said, ‘You are an inspiration’.

“I thought, ‘It’s great that men of a certain age in America know who I am’. Then he added, ‘At your age, it’s great to see you dancing like that’.”

The Graham Norton Show airs on BBC One and iPlayer on Friday at 10.40pm.