The producer behind Monty Python And The Holy Grail yesterday told the High Court that the cult film would have been "much less funny" without his input as he sued for an equal share of its profits.
Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin sat alongside each other as their counsel, Richard Spearman QC, said they had no animus towards film producer Mark Forstater who claims he was the "seventh" member of the Monty Python team. Mr Forstater, who produced Monty Python And The Holy Grail, wants an equal share in profits with the five surviving Pythons from spin-offs of the 1975 classic film – particularly the hit musical Spamalot which has become a worldwide success.
Mr Forstater told the High Court that his input to the film included telling the group that contemporary material was "much less funny" and that they should expand the King Arthur plot line. "The producer of a film is essential in creating a film," Mr Forstater told the court.
"Without the film there is no spin-off and in that sense the producer really should share in all the revenue from the spin-offs... If they are getting a larger share... the producer shouldn't be left behind."
Mr Justice Norris has been told it was the worldwide commercial success of Spamalot that appeared to have led to a cut, in 2005, of Mr Forstater's share of the profits from Grail spin-off merchandising which he had enjoyed for almost 30 years.
The hearing continues today.