BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 13 February 2008, 14:04 GMT
Britney joke removed from musical
Britney Spears and Victoria Beckham
Britney Spears has been replaced by Victoria Beckham
Spamalot creator Eric Idle has removed a song lyric making reference to pop star Britney Spears from the musical.

Explaining the change, Idle said: "We don't laugh at sad people. Britney is being tortured to death and we don't want to be on that side."

Spears's name has been replaced in the song by "Posh Spice" Victoria Beckham.

The alteration follows Brian May's announcement last week that a Britney reference had been removed from his Queen musical We Will Rock You.

"She is going through such a hard time," May wrote on his blog last week. "We didn't want there to be any risk of our show adding to her pain."

Eric Idle
We think that it's now too sad
Eric Idle
It also follows the decision by gossip site Holy Moly to censor paparazzi shots of celebrities being chased or in distress.

The Spamalot lyrics were changed last week in shows running in London, New York, Las Vegas and on tour.

In the original version, the Lady of the Lake character had bemoaned that she was being "constantly replaced by Britney Spears".

Now, though, she complains that "they're trying to replace me with Posh Spice".

Idle said the change was requested by the show's director Mike Nichols.

"And he's right," the former Monty Python star added. "We think that it's now too sad."

Spears has rarely been out of the headlines of late due to her ongoing custody battles and concerns over her physical and mental health.

Eric Idle on why he has removed the Britney references

Gossip site to censor paparazzi
12 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
Parents fear for Britney's life
07 Feb 08 |  Entertainment
Britney's life made into ballet
31 Jan 08 |  Entertainment
Ex-Dr Who to star in Python show
09 Jul 07 |  Entertainment

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific