Hugh Grant considers legal action after seeing 'phone-hacking evidence'

Hugh Grant said yesterday that an officer from Scotland Yard's Operation Weeting team investigating phone-hacking by the News of the World had visited him and shown him evidence of how he and his family had been targeted by the tabloid newspaper.

The actor said he was considering legal action against the paper, which is part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp publishing empire. Speaking to the BBC Radio 5 Live presenter Richard Bacon, who was recording his show in the newsroom of The Independent, Grant said the Metropolitan police officer had led him to believe that "big heads will roll soon" at Murdoch's company.

He said he had been shown "the evidence; all these notes with my PIN numbers, my phone numbers, my friends', my family's phone numbers, PIN numbers, bank accounts, all written down by a private detective working for a paper". He said he believed the new investigation team were "hot on the criminal case" and that he found the development "exciting".

Days after actress Sienna Miller received £100,000 from the News of the World, following the paper's admission that it hacked her mobile phone, Grant said he had not yet decided whether to issue civil proceedings but that he was considering doing so.

The actor attacked tabloid newspapers, expressing the view that they were unnecessary and that he hoped they would be shut down. "I could list you hundreds of high-profile people in this country who feel the same way. We don't need them, we don't want them and as soon as they go out of business the better," he said.

"The tabloid press is completely unnecessary – at least in my industry – to what you do. You need to make a good film, that's 97 per cent of it; then about 2 per cent of it is having good advertising materials, good trailer etc and then right on the end make a bit of noise with publicity if you can. But almost no one will talk to the tabloids. They'll usually do it through radio or television or the internet."

He accused newspapers of "stealing someone's most precious commodity for profit" by invading their privacy and maintained: "There's nothing to do with public interest – it's purely to do with money."

The failure to rein in the intrusions of the tabloid press, he went on, provided a justification for the controversial super-injunctions. "Injunctions... are at least to be welcomed because something's being done," he said.

Grant, 50, also revealed that he had largely left the acting world. He said: "One of the reasons I feel so brave about speaking out now is I am pretty much retired." He said that if he were to win a libel case against one of the tabloids he would want the punishment meted out to the paper to be a ban on publishing anything more about him.

"So little do I need the tabloid press that if I won a libel case against a tabloid paper now I would not want cash; I would want an assurance that they would never ever mention my name again." he said.

Mr Grant said that a privacy law was required in Britain because of the decline in ethical standards of the tabloid press. "There are no ethics any more, there's only one motive and that's profit." He said that he valued privacy injunctions because, although they were "imperfect" and could be circumnavigated by online media, "at least something is being done".

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas