Football fan Langham finds himself in the thick of it

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The Independent Online

Following his release from jail a fortnight ago, having served three-and-a-half months for downloading child pornography, the actor Chris Langham expressed his desire to rehabilitate himself professionally and publicly.

The writer and star of the BBC comedy The Thick Of It has insisted that the indecent images found on his computer were research for a character, and that he was sexually abused as a child. He also said that several people in the acting industry had already expressed an interest in working with him again.

It seems that some of Langham's fellow football fans are, as yet, unwilling to forgive him.

He was targeted by a London supporter on Saturday when he attended the Premier League match between Arsenal and Wigan Athletic, at the former's Emirates Stadium.

As Langham walked around the concrete concourse outside the ground, searching for his turnstile to get in, one fan reportedly threw a boiled sweet at his head – missing his mark.

There is also crude talk that supporters "know where he sits" and may subject him to hostile treatment. One says: "People are unhappy and there are plans to have a word with him."

Langham's agent commented only: "I believe he went to the game but I don't know any more than that."

The standard practice at football clubs is to investigate if a complaint is made about a fan's behaviour. There has been none on this occasion.

Rocker Slash is stripped of his leather trousers

A high-heeled member of Pandora's harem was nearly thrown out of The Sanderson with Slash, of Guns N' Roses, after both lit cigarettes in the hotel courtyard.

Back in the bar, the guitarist confided to the young lady that Air Canada lost his bag: "It has got loads of really expensive jewellery and all my leather trousers in." This required him to wear the same clothes for three days, he said.

"I saw one suitcase that looked like mine. I would have taken it but could've ended up walking around London in someone else's dress."

Slash and the young lady moved on to a strip club, Sophisticats. The guitarist looked bored: he no longer drinks and says his rider nowadays is for "orange juice, water and deli platters".

He also gave advice on strippers: "I've seen everything, so this is dull. If you want a real stripper, you get a hooker. The girls in South America are the best, they do anything."

Andy comes a cropper

With 2008 already billed as a monster year for British tennis hopeful Andy Murray, the young Scot has pressing issues to address before the season opens in Melbourne in January – like which barnet to sport.

The world No 11 has a rapidly mushrooming mane of curls and feels the time has come to decide whether to stick with the Afro or adopt a "Croydon facelift"-style ponytail – locks harshly scraped back off his forehead.

Fans have hastily accepted the invitation to contribute via his website. The 'fro is narrowly favoured, although several plead for the intervention of Murray's shortbread-baking grandmother – and a conservative, Henman-esque short-back-and-sides.

But the overriding sentiment? "Please shave!"

Fees trapeze

Having taken flak for bankrolling the legal appeal of Miranda Grell, the "rising star" black Labour councillor convicted of making false paedophilia slurs against a gay rival, party chiefs have abruptly washed their hands at the 11th hour.

With the appeal by Grell, 29, due to be heard in court today, Labour told Pandora yesterday that the party was backing her case to the tune of £30,000 – only to perform an embarrassing volte-face 41 minutes later.

"Following legal advice in the last few days, the Labour Party today withdrew its support for Miranda Grell's appeal," said a flustered spokeswoman, admitting that Grell had benefited from party dosh "up until this point".

Says Peter Tatchell: "Labour is tough on racism and weak on homophobia."

Beaten by the bangers

The hazards of constituency duty suddenly became all too apparent for the Liberal Democrats' Toby Jug lookalike, Roger Williams. The MP for Brecon and Randorshire arrived at the Royal Welsh Winter Fair yesterday to judge its "Best Sausage" competition, only to learn that he would be obliged to sample up to 80 offerings before finally being allowed to declare a victor. Bleurgh!

Beneath the beady squints of the butchers of the valleys, poor old Roger bravely tucked in but began to look "decidedly green at about number 39", reports an observer. "He had only expected to taste half a dozen."

It was probably ill-advised, then, that Williams had also eaten sausages for breakfast beforehand.

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