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Monty Python stars arrive at court as row over 'Spamalot' profits continues

posted 4 Dec 2012, 07:17 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 4 Dec 2012, 07:19 ]

Monty Python stars Eric Idle and Terry Jones arrive at court in London as a lawsuit over 'Spamalot' profits continues.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (DECEMBER 04, 2012) (REUTERS) - Two members of the Monty Python British comedy troupe, Eric Idle and Terry Jones, were in court in London on Monday (December 04) as the legal battle over profits from hit stage show 'Spamalot' continues.

Seeming in good spirits on the way into the Royal Courts of Justice Idle joked with reporters, saying: "Another day in court, you know, another dollar. What a way to spend your life!"

The Pythons are at odds with Mark Forstater, the producer of one of their greatest hits "Monty Pythonand the Holy Grail".

Forstater is fighting for an equal share with the Pythons in profits from spin-offs of the 1975 film, especially the hit stage musical Spamalot.

Inspired by the original film, the musical opened on Broadway in 2005 and has enjoyed a successful run in Britain too. Idle wrote the lyrics and collaborated on most of the music.

Forstater, an American based in Britain, says that under a 1974 agreement between him and the Pythons, he is entitled to one-seventh of profits derived from "Holy Grail" and any merchandise or spin-offs (MSO).

His lawyer, Tom Weisselberg, told the court on Friday (November 30) that for the purposes of profit-sharing, it had been agreed in 1974 that Forstater was "the seventh Python".

"Spamalot is a spin-off from the film and has been a huge international commercial success," Weisselberg said in his opening argument.

He claims that Forstater had been receiving his seventh of the profits from "Holy Grail" until 2005, when the Pythons had unilaterally reduced his share to one-fourteenth.

Forstater is suing Idle and Jones, as well as the other surviving members Michael PalinJohn Cleeseand Terry Gilliam.

Palin was seen in court on Friday (November 30) and along with Idle and Jones is expected to give evidence in the five-day legal action, meanwhile Cleese and Gilliam are abroad.