As a satire of British public life, The Thick of It, is widely admired. But when it was revealed that the comedy would pillory public inquiries, it seems the Leveson Inquiry into press standards suffered a sense of humour failure.
It emerged today that the editor of The Times was required to write to Lord Justice Leveson earlier this summer explaining why the paper had run a short story revealing that the BBC2 show's current series would satirise a public inquiry run on similar lines to the press ethics inquiry.
The story, which was 208 words long and did not appear on a prominent page, also referred to the findings of an opinion poll which asked for the reaction of people to positive and negative statements about the inquiry.
In a previously unreported statement, James Harding, the paper's editor, said he had been asked by the Leveson Inquiry to explain why the story had been chosen and why its contents were "appropriate".
Mr Harding defended the article, explaining that the bulk of its content was devoted to The Thick of It and the paragraph referring to the to poll findings had been fair and balanced.
The editor wrote: "It should be noted that, as far as I know, no complaint has been received from the [Press Complaints Commission] or any reader in relation to this article."Reuse content