January 9, 2009

London stage actor fired for Langham row

Actor Jud Charlton says he was fired from a West End production because he couldn't get along with Chris Langham, who was brought in to rewrite the show.

Langham was required to register as a sex offender after he was convicted of downloading child pornography in 2007 and sentenced to 10 months in jail. He was freed after 3 1/2 months. Another charge claiming he sexually abused a 14-year-old girl was dropped.

The Daily Mail said the comedian was quietly brought in to help writer/director Jeff Merrifield polish his script for the West End staging of Hit Me! The Life and Rhymes of Ian Dury, following the play's successful run at the Courtyard Theatre in Shoreditch and stint at the Edinburgh festival.

However, Charlton said he was replaced in the play by Adrian Schiller after he disagreed with the changes.

I was very unhappy with the script that Chris Langham wrote. I had an argument with him, and he questioned my reputation, which I thought was completely hypocritical, Charlton told the London Evening Standard. It was mindblowing that he couldn't see the irony given his past. I made it clear that I didn't want to work with him and his new script, which I thought was disrespectful to Ian Dury, and for that I was sacked.

Charlton said he objected to the crude jokes Langham added and the way the former television star took what was a celebration of Ian Dury and the Blockheads and turned it into a character assassination.

The Daily Mail said Langham didn't comment on the matter when he left the theater Thursday night after a preview performance of the show.