And so, 40-plus years on, Monty Python has gained a seventh member.
Not because the (dead) parrot has finally stopped “pining for the fjords”. Nor even because the rest of Cupid’s body has come to claim its due. Sad to say, the new signing is a more prosaic matter altogether.
Mr Justice Norris was the final arbiter. According to the High Court judge, Mark Forstater – the producer of the 1975 film Monty Python and the Holy Grail – is, after all, entitled to the one-seventh share of profits from the West End spin-off Spamalot, rather than the mere one-14th that he has been paid until now. Thus was the notion accepted that, for financial purposes at least, Mr Forstater might be considered the seventh of the troupe.
Such a victory is a rare one. Stuart Sutcliffe (the Fifth Beatle) had no such luck. Neither, indeed, did the Winklevoss twins (the second and third Facebookers, respectively). Not that Mr Forstater’s fellow Pythons are pleased to have him. Indeed, Eric Idle, Michael Palin and Terry Jones fought every step of the way. As Mr Jones (alias Mandy, long-suffering mother of Brian) might put it: “He’s not the seventh Python. He’s a very naughty boy.”