A CONCERT celebrating the work of Monty Python star and one-time Wirral resident Eric Idle will be staged in West Kirby next month.

All you need is Spam will be performed at West Kirby Arts Centre on Saturday, April 20.

The show is produced by, and features, Oxton-based singer songwriter Dean Johnson, who "will cherry-pick through Idle's cheerful and often outrageous songbook, interspersed with a few of Python's greatest skits."

It is Dean's tribute to Eric, who was born in South Shields but spent some of his childhood in Wirral, attending St George's School in Wallasey in the 1950s.

In his recently-published Always Look on the Bright Side of Life: A Sortabiography, the comedian, actor, writer, singer, guitarist, author and theatrical producer recalls playing on the 'Red Noses' sand dunes at New Brighton.

Eric went on to became a close friend of Beatles' lead guitarist George Harrison, but was unsure whether they had played together as children on the beach in New Brighton.

He began writing and performing comedy while at Cambridge. In 1969, he co-created BBC comedy series Monty Python's Flying Circus along with Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.

Idle went on to create Rutland Weekend Television and appearances in TV and film. He is currently enjoying international success with smash-hit musical Monty Python's Spamalot.

Dean told the Globe: "It seems quite a surprise to most people that Eric was living in Wirral as a boy, and it's quite a wonderful surprise. You can't help thinking that he might have picked up on our very particular humour.

"Years of fraternising with The Beatles, Led Zeppelin and The Who certainly paid off. Eric also wrote songs for TV such as the theme tune to classic BBC comedy One Foot In The Grave.

"Maybe his time on the bright side of the Mersey helped shape his comedy genius and inspired the legendary Beatles spoof All You Need Is Cash.

"All you need is Spam is, I believe, the very first full 'live celebration' of Mr Idle (and the first in Wirral).

"It's a very rewarding experience, because he is a very talented songwriter.

"His songs are catchy and deceptively simple and it's very difficult to archive that.

"Along with his zeal for surreal characters, Eric has created a catalogue of classic catchy songs.

"There's a very fine line between 'whimsy' and 'Throwaway' and he manoeuvres it with great skill and they are so side-splittingly funny. It's very hard to stop laughing and actually get all the way through the song while rehearsing.

"His close friend George Harrison loved music Hall songs and I think there must have been some influence there.

"I tweeted the poster for the show yesterday for the first time, a little nervously tagging Mr Idle in and very quickly he liked.

"I think can assume that is his 'blessing' for the show."

Tickets for the show, which starts at 7.30pm, are from the venue in Brookfield Gardens, West Kirby.

They are also available from www.westkirbyartscentre.org.uk or 07484 537 502