Nobody expects the Spanish inquisition: Monty Python stars go to High Court over Spamalot royalties dispute


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The Independent Culture

Members of comic tour de force Monty Python are embroiled in a legal dispute over hit musical Spamalot that has been taken to the High Court.

Three of the original six Pythons, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones, will give evidence during five-day legal proceedings brought by the producer of 1975 film Monty Python And The Holy Grail. The other remaining Pythons, John Cleese and Terry Gilliam, are abroad and not expected to attend.

Mark Forstater's lawyers say he is entitled to royalties running into hundreds of thousands of pounds from stage musical Spamalot, a spin-off to the Grail film.

His lawyer Tom Weisselberg argued that for “financial purposes” Forstater should be treated as “the seventh Python”. The sixth, Graham Chapman, died in 1989.

Weisselberg told Justice Norris that the Pythons were "unjustifiably attempting to secure more money from Spamalot at the expense of Mr Forstater and his company".

He said his client was “in difficult financial circumstances and has been forced to bring these proceedings.

Spamalot posters describe the production as "lovingly ripped off from the motion picture".