Children’s author accuses John Lewis of ‘helping themselves’ to ideas from his book

Did John Lewis rip off 'Mr Underbed'

Award-winning children’s author Chris Riddell has accused John Lewis of plagiarising elements of one of his books without permission.

Unveiled last weekthis in what has become a staple and modern tradition of the Christmas period for some, the festive clip tells the story of ‘Moz The Monster’ befriending a young companion, and comes backed by the soundtrack of Elbow covering The Beatles‘ ‘Golden Slumbers’. The advert has been directed by Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind director and Bjork collaborator Michel Gondry.

Now, Riddell has accused the department store of ‘helping themselves’ to ideas from his book, Mr Underbed. Riddell’s monster is also “big, blue and affable” and bares a striking resemblance to that from the John Lewis advert. The plot is also similar.

“’The idea of a monster under the bed is by no means new but the ad does seem to bear a close resemblance to my creation – a big blue unthreatening monster who rocks the bed and snores loudly,” the author told The Guardian. “Needless to say, I think Mr Underbed is a lot more appealing than Moz, but of course, I’m biased.”

A John Lewis spokesman responded, saying: “The story of a big hairy monster under the bed which keeps a child from sleeping is a universal tale which has been told many times over many years.

“Ours is a Christmas story of friendship and fun between Joe and Moz The Monster, in which Joe receives a night light which helps him get a good night’s sleep.

‘The main thrust of our story is utterly different to Chris Riddell’s.”

Many fans also subsequently complained about feeling unmoved by the commercial, and being ‘unable to cry‘.

Intended to tug at the heart strings, previous years’ efforts (including those soundtracked by Lily Allen covering Keane and Aurora covering Oasis) were renowned for stirring the sentiments of many viewers.