Actress tells libel trial of party jokes with sausage: Libel jury sees video of high jinks at drunken party involving a sausage and a wine bottle. Will Bennett reports

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The Independent Online
A FAT German sausage, a wine bottle and the way in which they were used at a drunken party by Gillian Taylforth, a star of the television soap opera EastEnders, transfixed the High Court yesterday.

Mr Justice Drake, the jury and a packed court watched a video in which Miss Taylforth simulated various sexual acts using the sausage and the bottle at a party at a London theatre school.

At one stage Miss Taylforth turned to the camera and said: 'I'd like to state I give good head, I give very good head', and posed with the sausage.

Miss Taylforth, who plays Kathy Beale in EastEnders, and her fiance, Geoff Knights, both 38, are suing the Sun newspaper for libel over an article which claimed they had been indulging in a 'sex romp' in their Range Rover on a slip road of the A1. The defendants deny libel.

The plaintiffs say that they were not having oral sex when a police officer stopped by their vehicle. Miss Taylforth, of Highbury New Park, north London, says that she was massaging Mr Knights's stomach because he felt sick after drinking too much champagne.

The video shown yesterday was obtained by the Sun after the libel action began. It was shot at a party for ex-pupils celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington, north London, in 1988.

The film showed Miss Taylforth fetching the sausage, holding it up and asking the cameraman if he had got a battery for it. She then simulated oral sex with it and made the remark about giving 'good head'.

On the steps outside the school, she posed with the wine bottle, putting it to her bottom and between her legs and making masturbatory movements with her hands.

Recalled to the witness box by George Carman QC, counsel for the Sun, Miss Taylforth said: 'I was very, very drunk. I think the party had been going on for about three hours.'

Asked why she had gone to get the sausage, she replied: 'I didn't actually go to find a sausage.' Asking for a battery was, like the rest of the afternoon, just a joke in private with friends, she said.

Mr Carman asked: 'What was the relevance of the battery to the sausage?' Miss Taylforth replied: 'I was just mucking about pretending it was a vibrator.'

Mr Carman said: 'The whole impression of your evidence, the clothes you wore, the tears you have shown, the language you selected and the expressions of outrage and disgust you have given to the jury, I suggest all this has been a great show misleading the jury and the true Gillian Taylforth, when you are in drink, emerges in this video.'

Miss Taylforth replied: 'No, I am sorry, you are wrong, Mr Carman.'

The case continues today.

(Photograph omitted)

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