Bragg sued over TV king's prostitutes

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MICHAEL DOBBS, the author of To Play The King, yesterday issued a libel writ against Melvyn Bragg, the writer and broadcaster.

Mr Dobbs's lawyer said the author was seeking 'substantial damages' for an article written by Mr Bragg in London's Evening Standard, alleging that the script of the television adaptation contained a 'gratuitous slur' against the Prince of Wales. Mr Dobbs is also demanding an apology from the newspaper.

The book was adapted by Andrew Davies for the four-part drama series, which began last Sunday on BBC 1.

The lawyers said Mr Bragg had alleged Mr Dobbs was responsible for lines in the script which implied the fictional king - which critics said was based on the Prince of Wales - sent out for prostitutes when he was lonely. A statement last night said Mr Bragg's claims had caused Mr Dobbs 'intense distress and embarrassment'.

It said: 'Nowhere in the book To Play The King, written by Michael Dobbs, are there any words which could remotely be read to mean what Melvyn Bragg alleges. . .

'The words to which Melvyn Bragg objects are not the words of Michael Dobbs and he is not responsible for them.'

Mr Dobbs is a former political adviser to Downing Street. To Play the King is the sequel to his award-winning political drama The House of Cards.