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UPDATED: Could Glee be banned in the UK?

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It sounds like a joke – but a court ruling made today could see Schuester et al permanently removed from our screens.

How could this most unexpected of situations occur, you might ask?

Well, it turns out that there was already a Glee Club operating in the UK an entire decade before everyone’s favourite chirpy Ohioan high schoolers hit our screens in 2009 – in fact, there are four of them.  

Not surprisingly, the Glee Clubs of Oxford, Nottingham, Birmingham and Cardiff, run by businessman Mark Tughan, have absolutely no connection whatsoever to the Fox TV hit.

In fact, they describe themselves as “award-winning comedy clubs and live venues... with nearly 20 years experience of running some of the UK’s most cherished live venues.”

Unfortunately patrons have been getting a tad confused, and have taken to avoiding the Glee Clubs out of fear that they’ll find sarcastic, track-suited PE teachers, questionable cover versions and relentless positivity inside – rather than the night out they were looking for.

We can see their point.

Today, Tughan has won a two and a half year High Court battle over the use of the ‘Glee’ name, which according to ITV he registered as a trademark in 1999.

Last summer, Fox TV executives were flown in to fight the claims.

Deputy Judge Roger Wyand QC’s verdict, however, was that “Continued use (of the name) cannot be in accordance with honest practices.”

Tughan, meanwhile, said that he “had no desire to resort to such a David & Goliath legal action which could potentially result in depriving Glee fans in the UK of their favourite show, but the High Court has looked at the evidence and agreed that the programme makers have confused the public and damaged my business, brand and reputation for cutting edge comedy and music, over a period of more than 4 years so far. I tried to resolve this before it reached court, however Fox’s refusal to get round the table with me leaves matters in the hands of the judge.”

It means that unless Fox TV successfully appeals Glee, which is set to resume its fifth season on Sky 1 in March, could be banished from our TV schedules forever. And ever.

Whether this is very, very good news or an absolute travesty, we’ll leave you to decide on your own.

Update:

Fox TV has now releaed a statement on decision. A spokesperson said:

“We intend to appeal and are confident that, as the case plays out, we will ultimately prevail. We remain committed to delivering Glee to all of its fans in the U.K.” 

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