Michael Palin rubbishes claim of '7th Python' Mark Forstater in court battle over royalties to Spamalot musical

From the seventh Python to a missed Nobel prize, Jonathan Brown looks at those who fame forgot

Chapman, Idle, Gilliam, Jones, Cleese, Palin and … Forstater?

Fans of Monty Python were astonished this week to learn that a seventh figure was claiming credit as a member of the 20th century’s most revered comedy collective. Mark Forstater, producer of the 1975 cult classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail, is suing the five surviving members for a share of the royalties and merchandising from the spectacularly successful musical spin off Spamalot.

Mr Forstater, 69, whose production credits include the 1978 comedy The Odd Job, which starred the late Graham Chapman, brought the legal action for £250,000 after falling on hard financial times, the High Court heard. He claims he is entitled to more money after signing a profit- sharing agreement before The Holy Grail was released. In court, however, Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones poured scorn on the notion that there was ever a seventh member of what they described as a jealously guarded creative team.

Palin said: “It might have been what he was seeking but it was never going to be accepted by the Pythons. The idea of a seventh Python, it just doesn’t happen. It’s never been like that.” Mr Forstater wouldn’t be the first to be credited, rightly or wrongly, with influencing others’ endeavours. While some are rewarded for their efforts, others aren’t so lucky.

Lamont Dozier... and the Four Tops

Levi Stubbs and his smooth-crooning Four Tops were one of Motown’s biggest acts in the 1960s. But behind the scenes there was a Fifth, Sixth and even a Seventh Top. Lamont Dozier and the brothers Brian and Eddie Holland crafted some of the vocal group’s finest songs including the classic Reach Out I’ll Be There. But the songwriting trio fell out with Motown’s founder, Berry Gordy, over royalties, working to rule and eventually leaving the label – and the Four Tops – behind them.

Paul McGuinness...and U2

Having signed them up in 1978 over a few pints in a Dublin pub they were too young to drink in, Mr McGuinness insisted that everything U2 earned was split equally between the four band members and himself. But although he was Mr 20 Per Cent for much of their ascent to become the richest band in the world, the fifth share was later – and amicably – renegotiated. McGuinness has since  negotiated a 12-year touring deal with Live Nation and the U2 iPod branding.

Rosalind Franklin... and Watson & Crick

In 1962, Francis Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded a Nobel Prize for their discovery of the molecular structure of DNA. There was no award for the British scientist Rosalind Franklin – she had died of ovarian cancer four years earlier and the prize cannot be awarded posthumously – but many feel her contribution was swept under the carpet. Franklin was an expert in  X-ray diffraction, and her 1952 image of the B-form of the molecule showed that DNA was made up of the now famous double helix. These photos were shared without her permission. In 1953, the first published study on DNA’s structure appeared in the journal Nature.

Nigel Godrich...and Radiohead

Drafted in as a sound engineer on the recording of Radiohead’s breakthrough album The Bends, Godrich has since gone on to be regarded as the sixth member of the influential band. He took control of the mixing desk to produce the hugely successful OK Computer, released in 1997, which was recorded in a mobile studio next to a power station where cattle were being incinerated at the height of the mad cow disease crisis. He produced all of Radiohead’s subsequent albums from Kid A in 2000 to last year’s The King of Limbs. Godrich has also produced Beck, Travis and Paul McCartney, and recently formed his own band, Ultraista, releasing a well-received album in November.

Tony McCarroll...and Oasis

It is rumoured that tensions between drummer McCarroll and his Oasis bandmates began early in the band’s career. In what fans dub the “£1,000 incident”, Noel Gallagher spent money advanced to the musicians on a new guitar, and refused to buy drum skins despite the fact McCarroll had paid £600 for a new drum kit. He featured on their 1994 debut album, Definitely Maybe, and left the band the following year. In 1999, he sued for £18m – a fifth of the band’s earnings since his departure. He settled out of court for £600,000.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

HR Manager - HR Generalist / Sole in HR

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - HR Generalis...

Business Analyst - Banking - London - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: Business Analyst - Banking - People Change - Lond...

HR Manager - Milton Keynes - £50,000 + package

£48000 - £50000 per annum + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Shared...

Day In a Page

All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
What happens to African migrants once they land in Italy during the summer?

What happens to migrants once they land in Italy?

Memphis Barker follows their trail through southern Europe
French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
Frank Mugisha: Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked

Frank Mugisha: 'Coming out was a gradual process '

Uganda's most outspoken gay rights activist on changing people's attitudes, coming out, and the threat of being attacked
Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

Radio 1’s new top ten

The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
Florence Knight's perfect picnic: Make the most of summer's last Bank Holiday weekend

Florence Knight's perfect picnic

Polpetto's head chef shares her favourite recipes from Iced Earl Grey tea to baked peaches, mascarpone & brown sugar meringues...
Horst P Horst: The fashion photography genius who inspired Madonna comes to the V&A

Horst P Horst comes to the V&A

The London's museum has delved into its archives to stage a far-reaching retrospective celebrating the photographer's six decades of creativity
Mark Hix recipes: Try our chef's summery soups for a real seasonal refresher

Mark Hix's summery soups

Soup isn’t just about comforting broths and steaming hot bowls...
Tim Sherwood column: 'It started as a three-horse race but turned into the Grand National'

Tim Sherwood column

I would have taken the Crystal Palace job if I’d been offered it soon after my interview... but the whole process dragged on so I had to pull out
Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard: Young, gifted... not yet perfect

Eden Hazard admits he is still below the level of Ronaldo and Messi but, after a breakthrough season, is ready to thrill Chelsea’s fans
Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

Tim Howard: I’m an old dog. I don’t get too excited

The Everton and US goalkeeper was such a star at the World Cup that the President phoned to congratulate him... not that he knows what the fuss is all about
Match of the Day at 50: Show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition

Tom Peck on Match of the Day at 50

The show reminds us that even the most revered BBC institution may have a finite lifespan – thanks to the opposition