Holy Grail producer sues Monty Python

Mark Forstater says that he's owed a bigger share of profits from the smash musical

The surviving members of Monty Python are being sued by one of the producers of 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' over profits made from the musical 'Spamalot'.

'Spamalot' is described as being 'lovingly ripped off' from the 1975 film on its posters, but producer Mark Forstater says that he's not been paid sufficient royalties.

[Related link: Christmas gift idea? Monty Python movies box set on Amazon]

The Holy Grail... producer wants bigger share of profits (Copyright: Rex)

Mr Forstater says that under an agreement made with the Pythons in 1974, he should be entitled to one-seventh of the profits of the hugely successful production, but has only received one-fourteenth.

Michael Palin, Eric Idle and Terry Jones will be giving evidence in the case at the High Court later this week.

[Related story: Warner Bros sued by Tolkien estate over slot machines]

The show was written by Idle and premiered on Broadway in 2006 under the direction of Mike Nichols, where it took $1 million (£623,000) in its opening week. It went on to win three Tony Awards.

It made a huge $175 million (£109 million) over its first 1500 performances, and now has productions in 11 countries.

It follows a similar story to 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', following a group of medieval knights in search of the ancient relic, but also parodies other famous Broadway musicals.

But the other Pythons have mixed feelings about the production, despite it making them millions in royalties.

Terry Gilliam said in a BBC interview: “It helps with the pension fund, and it helps keep Python alive. As much as we'd like to pull the plug on the whole thing it carries on - it's got a life of its own.”

Meanwhile, Michael Palin said in 2006: “We’re all hugely delighted that 'Spamalot' is doing so well. Because we’re all beneficiaries! It’s a great show. It’s not ‘Python’ as we would have written it. But then, none of us would get together [to] write a ‘Python’ stage show.”