Monty Python team tell court: we're not shifty people


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The Independent Online

The Monty Python team are not “unpleasant shifty people” who try to cheat people out of what they deserve, the High Court was told toay.

Three members of the comedy lineup – Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin – sat alongside each other as their counsel, Richard Spearman QC, said they had no animus towards Mark Forstater, who produced their film Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Mr Forstater is demanding an equal share with the five surviving Pythons in profits from spin-offs of the 1975 film – especially the hit West End musical Spamalot.

“These are not unpleasant shifty people trying to do people out of their just deserts,” Mr Spearman said. “They reckoned, and they were right, that he had already got a pretty good deal and here he was, coming back for more, which they weren’t prepared to give.”

Earlier, Mr Justice Norris was told that the worldwide commercial success of Spamalot appeared to have led to a cut, in 2005, in Mr Forstater’s share of the profits from Grail spin-off merchandising.

Counsel Tom Weisselberg said the film producer was entitled under an agreement made in 1974 to equal treatment with the Pythons, but the Pythons said they could not recollect any agreement.

The hearing resumes today.