Edinburgh musicians have gay dating app claimed refused

Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell. Picture Jane Barlow / TSPL
Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell. Picture Jane Barlow / TSPL
Have your say

TWO concert pianists, known for bringing humour to their performances, have failed to convince appeal judges that they were business partners in a gay dating app business.

Steven Worbey and Kevin Farrell, had gone to the Court of Session in Edinburgh to prove they had a commercial relationship with IT specialist Steven Elliott.

The two men, from Edinburgh, wanted a share in the profits generated by the Bender and Brenda dating apps.

Mr Elliott was a computer expert who developed the money spinning businesses which are now called Wapo and Wapa.

Bender was designed to help gay men find love whilst the second was to help lesbians to find a perfect partner.

The musicians were once hailed as classical music’s answer to Ant and Dec by Eamonn Holmes after appearing on ITV’s This Morning programme.

The duo also counted Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney as a fan of their work.

The two musos claimed they and Mr Elliott, of Clydebank, West Dunbartonshire, came up with the idea for the apps whilst having drinks in a bar in Vienna in 2009.

Both Mr Worbey – who came up with the name Bender – and Mr Farrell claim they agreed on a formal partnership with Mr Elliott on the evening of October 17 2009.

However, evidence produced in court showed that Mr Elliott regarded the two men as being “investors” In his scheme.

Lord Tyre ruled in favour of Mr Elliott in October 2016.

Lawyers acting for the two men returned to the Court of Session earlier this year to argue that Lord Tyre had interpreted the law incorrectly.

However, civil appeal judges Lord Brodie, Lady Clark of Calton and Lord Glennie, upheld their colleague’s decision.

In a written judgement issued on Wednesday, Lord Glennie said: “We are satisfied that the Lord Ordinary was fully entitled to conclude, as he did, that on the facts as he found them to be, there was no partnership between the parties.

“The Lord Ordinary considered all the relevant factors.”

Worbey & Farrell were previously known as Katzenjammer. They are a comedy musical duo who are regulars on BBC Radio 3.

The pair met whilst studying at the Royal College of Music.

In 2015, Timeout magazine rated their work Worbey and Farrell’s House Party amongst the top ten shows to see at the Edinburgh festival.

They also regularly perform on cruises. The duo also performed with Mickey Rooney at his 89th birthday concert in Chicago.

The former Sky News host – who is married to TV personality Ruth Langsford - compared them to the Britain’s Got Talent hosts on a clip of the popular daytime TV show. Footage is currently on YouTube.

Last year, lawyers acting for the two men argued in the Court of Session that their clients had formed a formal business relationship with Mr Elliott.

Lord Tyre wrote that during a drinks session in Vienna in 2009, Mr Worbey came up with the name Bender. Mr Farrell suggested the name Brenda for the app designed for Lesbian users later.

In October 2009, Mr Elliott sent Mr Worbey and Mr Farrell which stated that he would own 51 per cent of shares in the company.

He told the entertainers that they would own 49 per cent of the shares. He also described them as being “investors.”

A court judgement issued last year told of how Mr Elliott thought the musicians were more skilled at marketing and PR than him. He thought that they should use their expertise to promote the apps when they were released into the iTunes Store.

The two show business professionals also gave Mr Elliott £565.99 so he could buy a second hand Apple MacBook from eBay which he planned to use on working on the apps.

Mr Elliott also bought an iPhone developer licence to develop the apps.

The judgement stated that as Mr Elliott continued to develop the apps, both Mr Worbey and Mr Farrell started struggling financially.

In December 2010, Mr Elliott suggested that the two entertainers contribute £200 per month to him to help him cover his costs.

The payments were then made in January, February and March 2011.

On April 8 2011, Mr Elliott emailed Mr Worbey to see that he didn’t receive £200.

Mr Worbey replied a few days later that he couldn’t afford the sum.

In May 2011, Mr Elliott decided to terminate the business relationship. He sent them a letter and a cheque for £2225.49 – the amount which they had invested in the project.

Lord Tyre concluded that there was no evidence of a formal business partnership between the three men.

Earlier this year, the two men’s legal team returned to court to appeal Lord Tyre’s decision.

Andrew Smith QC told the appeal judges that Lord Tyre had made errors in the way he approached the case.

However, Lord Brodie, Lady Clark and Lord Glennie disagreed.

Lord Glennie wrote: “The appeal is refused. Questions of expenses are reserved.”