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Last updated at 17:24 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Monty Python in US election row

Summary

4 November 2009

Two British comedians are threatening to sue US election candidate Chris Christie. The pair say he used part of their TV show without their permission in his campaign.

Reporter:
Maddy Savage

Monty Python's Flying Circus

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Report

Voters in the American states of New Jersey and Virginia will be going to the polls to choose new state governors. This row's over a campaign advert used by a Republican candidate in New Jersey. But it's not his rival politicians who are getting angry, it's the comedians who've had a starring role, without giving their permission.

The advert features part of a Michael Palin sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus. He asks viewers if they've ever suffered from deja vu... then repeats the question again... and again... and... you get the idea.

The campaign plan was to show up Chris Christie's rival candidate Jon Corzine, who's got a reputation for repeated attempts to impose higher charges on motorways. But Michael Palin's called the whole thing a 'terrible mistake', and his former co-star, Terry Jones, described it as 'totally outrageous'. They're threatening legal action, pointing out Christie himself's a former lawyer who should have done his copyright homework. Michael Palin couldn't resist cracking a joke though, saying Christie had picked the wrong Palin, and should have been after the backing of US politician Sarah Palin.

Despite all the comic drama, Chris Christie is expected to win the vote in New Jersey, even though President Obama made two campaign stops there on Sunday.

Maddy Savage, BBC News

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Vocabulary

going to the polls

voting in an election

this row's over

this disagreement is about

without giving their permission

they didn't agree that Chris Christie could use a part of their TV show

sketch

short, funny drama (one of many in a longer TV comedy show)

deja vu

(from the French expression 'already seen') the experience of thinking that a new situation has occurred before

you get the idea

(informal) you understand the meaning of what is being explained or talked about

to show up

to expose or reveal someone's true character

threatening legal action

saying they might take Christie to court to try to resolve this issue

should have done his copyright homework

ought to have done enough research (to know that he needed legally to get their permission first)

cracking a joke

making light of the situation, saying something funny

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