In early July, the National Broadcasting Company (NBC) announced that Eric Idle will replace 'Breakfast Club' actor, Judd Nelson, in his role as San Franciscan magazine magnate, Jack Richmond, in the station's ailing television series, 'Suddenly Susan'.

Idle was also recently seen in the roles of Dr Vosknocker in 'South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut', the movie spin off of the animation series 'South Park' and as director Alan Smithee in the disastrous 'An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn' which won the Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Picture of 1999.

This ongoing series of questionable role choices has pressed at least one fan to question Idle's allegiance. Is he loyal to artistic integrity, or his bank account? To accuse an artist of selling out is to tread on dangerous ground - whilst it may be true that Idle has faltered artistically in his recent commercial exploits, the fact remains that as an actor, he relies on earnings made from his productions to survive.

Indeed, were it not for Idle's commercial exploits, the Python legacy would have died with the end of the fourth series. It was Idle who was responsible for the production of the many books, albums and games released after the series and it is Idle who is pushing for a reunion of sorts some time this year to mark the Pythons' 30th anniversary. As fans, we owe a great deal to Idle and to question his integrity is merely a reflection of the modern trend of the public to look on stars as their own property. By pure definition, fans should remain loyal through thick and thin.

Idle can be seen in Brendon Fraser's new comedy 'Dudley Do-Right' based on the cartoon series of the same name. The plot centres around Dudley's (Fraser) inept attempts to save the world from imminent destruction at the hands of Dr Evil (Idle).

In a change of heart, John Cleese, commonly associated with dead parrots, has become involved in a scheme launched by the World Parrot Trust and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) aimed at saving the exotic birds from extinction.

Cleese made the 'Live Parrot' video, to be distributed worldwide, to mark Friday's World Parrot Day. Comparing a stuffed parrot in a tree "It's popped its clogs. It's an ex-parrot" with a live, singing version called Groucho, a jubilant Cleese proclaims, "Now that's what I call a live parrot."

The WWF, along with the World Parrot Trust, which breeds rare birds in temperate southwest England, said almost one in three species of parrots was on the brink of extinction due to the pet trade and disappearance of the world's forests.

"Habitat destruction and a rapacious trade threatens the world's most magnificent birds with imminent extinction," said Dr Paul Toyne, conservation officer for the WWF, "The parrot action plan will play a vital role in helping forge action to save them from the brink."

Veteran globe-trotter, Michael Palin, is off again. Having produced three series of adventures for the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and vowing never to leave home again, it was announced that Palin will be setting off in the footsteps of famed American author, Ernest Hemingway.

Hemingway, who was the object of Martin Sproale's obsessions in Palin's first novel 'Hemingway's Chair', has again become the centre of attention with the recent celebrations of the 100th anniversary of his birth. Hemingway was well travelled, having spent time in France and Italy during the First Wolrd War, hunting in Africa, working as a correspondant during the Spanish Civil War and vacationing in Cuba. However, it remains to be seen where Palin's latest journey will take him.

John and Terry Hughes, executive producers of the American comedy series 3rd Rock From the Sun' are rumoured to be in discussions with John Cleese, Warner Bros. and Granada Entertaiment about a new television venture. Cleese's well received guest appearance in 3rd Rock From the Sun' as a university professor, Liam Neesam, has given rise to a desire by the producers of the show to have him star in a new series described as a dark look at the legal profession. However, sources say it is unlikely that Cleese, who read Law at Cambridge University, would want anything more than a co-creator role.