John Cleese says he may sue an Australian theatre company for ‘ripping off’ Fawlty Towers.
The actor said on Twitter that he has not given the ‘Faulty Towers Dining Experience’ permission to use the show’s title, themes or characters.
He added that he has not received royalties from the show, which reportedly makes £1m a year.
I've just found out from an Aussie journalist the astonishing financial success of the 'Faulty Towers Rip-Off Dining Experience'.Had no idea
— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) March 23, 2016
“Seems they thought that by not asking, and by changing the ‘w’ to a ‘u’, they’d be in the clear! Hilarious,” he wrote.
Imagination Workshop, the production company behind the show, told the BBC that its revenues are “nothing like” those reported by Fairfax newspapers. They denied that they needed Cleese’s permission for the show.
“We are staggered by John Cleese’s vitriol towards us and our tribute show,” they said in a statement to the BBC.
We are not an unauthorised rip-off show – anyone who knows the law in this area will understand that we do not require authorisation to use the concept of Fawlty Towers.”
The dinner-and-performance show has been running for two decades and has been staged in Sydney, London and other cities around the world.
Cleese recently criticised the James Bond films, suggesting that their tone has been altered to appeal to Asian moviegoers.