The award-winning actor Chris Langham, who is facing a court case over child pornography charges, will not appear in a special Christmas edition of the hit political satire The Thick of It.
But Janice Hadlow, the controller of BBC4, which commissioned the show, insisted that Langham had never been expected to reprise his role as the government minister Hugh Abbott for the seasonal edition.
"The plan was always that the Christmas special was going to be a slightly different story," she said. "He never would have needed to be in it."
The series, written by Armando Iannucci, followed the career of Abbott, a minister for social affairs, who faces ridicule at the hands of an Alastair Campbell-style spin doctor, Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi). According to reports, the Christmas special will focus on Abbott's opposite number, a Tory MP.
The 57-year-old actor, from Cranbrook, Kent, is on bail facing 15 counts of making indecent images of children. He is due to return to court in September.
Asked about the future of the series, Ms Hadlow said: "The law is taking its course. At the moment we're very keen to keep it going." She said The Thick of It was "one of the great comedy inventions of recent years".Reuse content