Chris Langham returns to screen with film role
Former 'Thick of It' star makes his first acting appearance since release from prison
Sunday 10 April 2011
The disgraced actor Chris Langham is attempting a comeback with his first foray into screen acting since his release from prison.
Langham, famous for his portrayal of the hapless government minister Hugh Abbott in the political satire The Thick of It, was sentenced to 10 months in prison in 2007 for downloading indecent images of children from the internet. His sentence was later reduced to three months on appeal, but the damage to his career was such that many thought his acting days were over.
But now the two-time Bafta winner has appeared in a low-budget British film, yet to be released, called Black Pond. Written, produced and directed by two young debut film makers, it is described as a comedy drama. It also stars the comedian Simon Amstell, best known for presenting the BBC2 quiz show Never Mind the Buzzcocks.
Langham, 61, said of his return this weekend: "I was just grateful for the opportunity to work. That the script was brilliant and the creative team so talented was an unbelievable bonus."
Shooting on the film had been kept secret for fear of controversy after Langham's time in prison, and the producers have yet to find a distributor. But according to the directors, Will Sharpe and Tom Kingsley, they have had considerable interest from distributors, and the film could be released nationwide this year.
"We cast Chris because he was the best possible person available for the role," Mr Sharpe said. "We were fully aware of his legal history. He had broken the law and he had served his sentence. He is a good person, a loving father and a great actor. We are proud to have him and hope this performance serves as a reminder to audiences that he is an irreplaceable talent."
The writer and satirist Armando Iannucci also welcomed Langham's return. Iannucci, who wrote and created The Thick of It, said this weekend: "It's great that Chris is back on screen. He's a fantastic comic talent, and people will get a fresh chance to see that for themselves and enjoy his pitch-perfect performances."
Black Pond portrays a family who are accused of murder when a stranger they have taken in, called Blake, mysteriously dies at their dinner table. Langham plays one of the main characters – Tom Thompson – the well-meaning father of the family who struggles to placate his wife Sophie after Blake's death.
The actor, who will remain on the Sex Offenders' Register for another three years, has led a relatively quiet life at his home in Cranbrook, Kent, with his wife and two children since his release from prison.
Prior to his conviction he enjoyed a successful career both as an actor and a writer, starring in the original cast of the BBC comedy show Not the Nine O'Clock News in 1979.
He was awarded a Bafta in 2006 for his role in The Thick of It. Langham has admitted suffering from alcohol and cocaine addiction and used his experiences to co-write the BBC2 series Help with Paul Whitehouse.
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 I've been called an abusive and dangerous parent, when all I did was listen to my transgender child
- 2 Migrant crisis: Greek soldier saved 20 people singlehandedly off Rhodes beach
- 3 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 4 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
- 5 Ian Brady: Moors murderer announces his support for Ukip and the SNP
Poldark finale episode 8, review: How a costume drama became a Sunday night swoon-fest
Al Pacino admits he was nearly fired from The Godfather and it's still his most 'difficult role'
Warner Music owner Len Blavatnik tops Sunday Times Rich List
The day I starred in Only Fools and Horses
Peter Kay’s Car Share, TV review: The perfect vehicle for Kay’s comic talents
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove