ABC comedy stars ‘child porn’ crim

Anyone who watches the Wednesday line-up on the ABC knows its all about having a laugh with shows like Spicks and Specks, Stupid Stupid Man, That Mitchell and Webb Look and occasionally watching a bit of controversy unfold with The Chaser or Summer Heights High.

But a new British sitcom, The Thick of It, set to screen this month, is likely to have people talking for the behind-the-scenes headlines surrounding its lead actor, Chris Langham.

In 2005 Langham was arrested for downloading child porn on his computer. He was charged in May 2006 and in August 2007 was found guilty and sentenced to ten months imprisonment.

In his defence Langham claimed to be researching the role of a paedophile for a BBC comedy, Help (2005). His co-star Paul Whitehouse told the court that he had no knowledge of any such research. Judge Philip Statman said, “Your activity took place in the comfort of your own home, no doubt at the time feeling safe in the knowledge that you would never be caught.”

Langham also claimed to have been molested himself as a child. Of one film he said, “I talked to my wife about it. I’m one of the children in the photographs. That’s the problem I have with it. I don’t know how to react to it.”

Langham was also charged with eight sexual offences against an unnamed woman who was 14 at the time the assaults allegedly happened, but acquitted of these charges. He defended she was 18 at the time.

In November 2007 he was released following an appeal to reduce his sentence from ten to six months. IMDb lists no further acting roles since Langham’s release.

The six episodes of The Thick of It were filmed in 2005, before Langham’s arrest. The sitcom, which satirises the workings of the British Government, also aired two specials in 2007 but Langham was excluded from the show. he was also banned from attending the 2006 British Comedy Awards.

TV Tonight sought comment from the ABC regarding The Thick of It.

An ABC spokesperson affirmed it was aware of the situation and was proceeding with its programming.

The Thick of It will premiere 9:30pm Wednesday March 26 on ABC1.

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