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Idle attended Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he studied English.
After the success of Python in the early 1970s, all six members pursued solo projects.
Unlike Palin, Idle is said to be the master of insincere characters, from the David Frost-esque Timmy Williams, to small-time crook Stig O'Tracy, who tries to deny the fact that organised crime master Dinsdale Piranha nailed his head to the floor.
The second-youngest member of the Pythons, Idle was closest in spirit to the students and teenagers who made up much of Python's fanbase.
Idle was eventually caught watching the X-rated film BUtterfield 8 (suitable for audiences aged 16 years and over under the contemporary film certificates) and stripped of his prefecture, though by that time he was head boy.
Idle had already refused to be senior boy in the school cadet force, as he supported the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and had participated in the yearly Aldermaston March.