Producer sues Pythons over Spamalot

Dispute over stage royalties

The surviving members of Monty Python are being sued by a film producer who says he is owed royalties from the stage show Spamalot.

Mark Forstater was one of the producers of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail – the film that was ‘lovingly ripped off’ for the hit musical.

Mr Forstater's lawyer told London's High Court, today that ‘for financial purposes’, his client should be treated as ‘the seventh Python’.

Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones are due to give evidence at the five-day hearing, the BBC reports,but John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, who are abroad, are not expected to attend.

Forstater's lawyer, Tom Weisselberg, accused the Pythons of failing to pay royalties owed to him under a 1974 agreement.

Both sides agreed that Mr Forstater – who went bankrupt in June – was entitled to a share of the profits from spin-off incomes. But he claims he is due to a one-seventh share – the same as all the other Pythons – while he has only been receiving one-fourteenth.

Spamalot took $1million in its opening week on Broadway in 2005 and is still popular today. Stephen Tompkinson is currently in the West End version, and another production will be touring the States from January.

Published: 30 Nov 2012

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