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Hampstead comedian Ricky Gervais is sued by angry author

PUBLISHED: 10:58 24 August 2010 | UPDATED: 17:05 07 September 2010

Ricky Gervais

Ricky Gervais

AN IRATE author and illustrator is suing Hampstead funnyman Ricky Gervais after insisting that the Hollywood and TV star ripped off his work. John Savage, 44, has accused the millionaire comedian, actor and writer of copying his work for his best-selling

AN IRATE author and illustrator is suing Hampstead funnyman Ricky Gervais after insisting that the Hollywood and TV star ripped off his work.

John Savage, 44, has accused the millionaire comedian, actor and writer of copying his work for his best-selling children's book Flanimals.

Mr Savage claims in a High Court writ that Flanimals, which features cartoon illustrations of fictional creatures, is largely based on his own book Captain Pottie's Wildlife Encyclopedia, published four years earlier.

He is suing The Office and Extras star for an unspecified sum relating to profits generated from the worldwide sales and other rights to Flanimals, plus interest.

Mr Savage, of Norwich, is also requesting that all existing copies of Flanimals be destroyed.

In 2004, Mr Gervais launched Flanimals, which Mr Savage claims is "broadly the same in content and character" to his own book Captain Pottie's Wildlife Encyclopedia.

The writ says: "The infringing work is not only substantially the same in artistic and in literary content - a number of the characters are similarly named and drawn - but share a common general format."

The writ claims Mr Gervais has sold the film rights for Flanimals for $80m (£52.5m) and said the book's publication had "led to confusion among the buying public of the origin and authorship of the works".

It continues: "As a result of the defendant's wholesale copying of the work in his infringing work, the claimant has suffered significant financial hardship and loss, not to mention damage to his reputation as an illustrator."

Flanimals features fictional creatures including the mernimbler, blimble, sprent and honk.

The book has spawned several sequels and is being made into a Hollywood movie.

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