Love Actually creator Richard Curtis is being sued by writer MARTIN SIMPKIN - who claims he dreamt up the movie premise first.

Simpkin insists he wrote his version, SWEEPING NO 10, in November 2000 - and the plot about the romance between the Prime Minister and a housekeeper is virtually identical to the main thread of Curtis's hit movie.

The irate author says, "I am suing (Curtis). My lawyers and I have met WORKING TITLE but got nowhere. I would rather settle but it's a matter of principle."

Simpkin sent his script to many people, including film runner ADAM GRIFFITHS who went on to work for Curtis on the project.

But production company Working Title claim Curtis had been considering the idea for Love Actually for over 20 years and the storyline is entirely his own.

Working Title's head of legal and business affairs, SHEERAZ SHAH, says, "Richard Curtis had the idea for a film in which the Prime Minister would fall in love with a tea lady back in 1982.

"The script was written after we concluded a deal with Mr Curtis in May 1999 and the first draft screenplay was dated 23 April 2001, which pre-dates Mr Griffiths' commencement of employment with Working Title.

"Adam Griffiths is employed as a runner by Working Title. Adam Griffiths does not have access to Richard Curtis and has only met his briefly when Richard Curtis has been visiting the office."

30/11/2003 10:38