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Trial date set for infringement claim against Steve Coogan’s Baby Cow

An October trial date has been set for comedian Harry Deansway’s copyright infringement case against Steve Coogan’s production company Baby Cow.

Deansway filed a suit against Baby Cow last year at the High Court, claiming that its head of comedy, Rupert Majendie, had copied the format of his 2013 YouTube show Shambles to develop the stand-up focused sitcom Live at the Moth Club. Deansway’s web series was set in a comedy club and focused on a group of behind-the-scenes characters running the club. The show is based on his experiences promoting London comedy nights.

Majendie is the creator, executive producer and director of Live at the Moth Club, which aired on UKTV in December 2022.

Shambles, which was produced by Wild Seed and featured guest appearances from comics including Aisling Bea and Dan Schreiber, ran for two seasons. According to Deansway’s suit, Live at the Moth Club has infringed copyright by “reproducing a substantial part of Shambles’ dramatic format,” including characters, storylines, jokes and settings. Deansway reportedly claims “over a hundred” similarities to his earlier show.

He further claims that Majendie was aware of the series as the two men were “well acquainted in the 00’s,” including running a comedy night together.

Baby Cow said in a statement: “Live At The Moth Club is an original work and the claim is being fully defended.” It added that Deansway’s claim has “no legal merit.”

Steve Coogan set up Baby Cow with fellow Mancunian comic Henry Normal in 1999 and BBC Studios became a shareholder in 2008, becoming its majority owner since 2016. The production company’s biggest successes include Alan Partridge, Gavin and Stacey and The Mighty Boosh.

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