BBC puts comedy starring convicted sex offender back on iPlayer

Chris Langham arriving at court in 2007

Comedy series The Thick of It, which features convicted sex offender Chris Langham, has been put back on the BBC’s iPlayer digital catch-up service – prompting victim support groups to voice their concern.

The move comes at a time when the corporation is firmly in the spotlight after the suspension of Huw Edwards, identified earlier this week by his own wife as the presenter accused of paying an unnamed 17-year-old tens of thousands of pounds for explicit photographs.

The decision was referenced by Armando Iannucci, the show’s writer and creator, on social media last Sunday when he tweeted: “Oh, by the way, every episode of The Thick Of It now back up on BBC iPlayer.”

In The Thick Of It, which ran between 2005 and 2014 on BBC Four and BBC, was set in Whitehall and satirised UK politics.

All four series of the programme were put back on iPlayer on June 20, having been removed in April 20, 2021.

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Speaking to The Daily Telegraph, The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) told anyone who might feel “triggered” by the re-runs to call its free support line.

Another insider who works with victims of abuse added: “We know there’s an impact from watching certain things that can retraumatise people.”

In 2007, Langham, now aged 74, was convicted of 15 counts of downloading and possessing level 5 child sexual abuse images and videos.

He was previously arrested by Kent Police in connection with Operation Ore, which was an investigation into credit-card customers paying to access indecent and abusive images of children.

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The actor – whose portrayal of cabinet minister Hugh Abbot in the show won the 2006 Bafta Best Comedy Performance award – was jailed for 10 months, reduced to six months on appeal.

He was also required to sign the sex offenders’ register and was banned from working with children under the age of 10.

Langham claimed he had accessed the images as part of researching for the role of a Peeping Tom character and has since appeared in several low-key productions.

The Thick of It, which was shot in a fly-on-the-wall documentary style, was widely acclaimed for its depiction of the life in the Westminster bubble.

Machiavellian central character Malcolm Tucker, played by Peter Capaldi, won particular plaudits.

The role is believed to have been inspired in part on Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s director of communications.

Capaldi returned to the role in the 2009 spin-off film In the Loop, which did not feature Langham.

A BBC spokesman said: “We have a wide range of programmes available for viewers to watch on iPlayer.”

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