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".

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Sport
Moeen Ali wearing the 'Save Gaza' and 'Free Palestine' wristbands on his left arm
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Great British Bake Off 2014 contestants
tv
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
filmThe Battle of the Five Armies trailer released
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Extras
indybest
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Life and Style
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on