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It's a very new look for the Creature -- no bolts in the neck or flat-top hairdo -- and I think it works; it's a lot like Stephen Berkoff, only marginally better-looking.'Following the publication of the second article Mr Berkoff made an immediate complaint. .' The summons also included an application for an order that if it were determined that the meaning was not defamatory the action should be dismissed.The complaint was rejected, however, and on 1 March 1995 Mr Berkoff issued a writ. The summons was heard by Sir Maurice Drake sitting as a judge of the High Court.In the course of the review, in a general reference to film directors, Miss Burchill wrote: '. In this review, which was published in the issue of the Sunday Times dated 6 November 1994, Miss Burchill described a character in the film called 'the Creature'.She wrote:'The Creature is made as a vessel for Waldman's brain, and rejected in disgust when it comes out scarred and primeval.Nevertheless it was held by the House of Lords, affirming the majority decision of the Court of Appeal ((1880) 5 CPD 514), that in their natural meaning the words were not capable in law of being defamatory.It may be noted that the issue had been left to the jury at the trial but they had been unable to agree.I think the publishing any thing of a man that renders him ridiculous is a libel and actionable . .'(3) In Dunlop Rubber Co Ltd v Dunlop [1921] 1 AC 367, [1920] All ER Rep 745 the plaintiff, who was the inventor of a pneumatic tyre, had assigned his interest in the invention to the defendant company. In 1891 the plaintiff had presented the defendants' predecessors in title with a portrait bust of himself and his signature to be used as a trade mark.Later, however, the defendants, without his permission, exhibited advertisements containing pictures intended to represent him, but the features, which were adapted from the portrait bust, were placed upon the body of a very tall man dressed in an exaggeratedly foppish manner, wearing a tall white hat, a white waistcoat, and carrying a cane and eyeglass.

I turn therefore to such guidance as can be found in any of the decided cases to which we were either referred by counsel or to which my own limited researches have led me.

In para 6 of the statement of claim, which was served on the same day as the writ was issued, it was alleged that the passages in the two articles which I have set out meant and were understood to mean that Mr Berkoff was hideously ugly. After hearing argument the judge dismissed the defendants' application, but he gave the defendants leave to appeal.

It is to be noted that in para 5 of the statement of claim, after the words in the second article of which complaint was made had been set out, it was pleaded that the plaintiff would rely on the full text of the article for context. whether the meaning pleaded in paragraph 6 of the Statement of Claim . The primary submission on behalf of Mr Berkoff before the judge was that the meaning was defamatory because to call a person 'hideously ugly' would tend to expose him to ridicule.

For that reason, albeit with hesitation, I hold that to call a person "hideously ugly" is defamatory. The question of fact: libel or no libel, is a matter for the jury.

If justification is pleaded, that will involve the jury deciding whether the plea is made out.'The Law Before stating my conclusion I propose to examine the relevant question of law under three headings. But the court has jurisdiction to rule that as a matter of law words are incapable of being defamatory.

Thus it was suggested in the review that the appearance of the 'marginally better-looking' creature was such that it was 'rejected in disgust' when it came out 'scarred and primeval'.


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