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Reasons I won't work with Langham - one, two, three

PUBLISHED: 15:22 15 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:49 07 September 2010

Jud Charlton as Ian Drury

Jud Charlton as Ian Drury

Miguel Cullen THE Kentish Town actor sacked from a top West End production for refusing to work with sex offender Chris Langham has spoken out about his ordeal. Jud Charlton was left outraged – and out of pocket – after being ousted from the lead role in

Miguel Cullen

THE Kentish Town actor sacked from a top West End production for refusing to work with sex offender Chris Langham has spoken out about his ordeal.

Jud Charlton was left outraged - and out of pocket - after being ousted from the lead role in Hit Me! The Life And Rhymes Of Ian Dury.

The 40-year-old was booted out of the Leicester Square Theatre production last week after refusing to work with Langham, 59, who spent 10 months in jail for downloading child pornography.

The dispute arose after Langham was brought in to make script changes. The Kentish Town actor viewed the move as bad taste and said a series of "badly written" gags and lines linking Ian Dury with prostitutes amounted to a "character assassination" of the Blockheads punk star.

"I went to see Langham at his house to talk about the script changes," said Mr Charlton.

"He sat me down and said, 'now you're going listen to what I'm going to say. I've asked around and I've heard that you've got a bad reputation.' To which I said, 'Listen mate, we can't even put your name on the script because of your reputation.

"For him to question my reputation is out of this world. How arrogant can you be?

"I threw his script against the wall and left. He's taken all the love out of this play and replaced it with bile.

"Langham took the play to pieces and wrote it in a very disreputable way. I thought we could get round our differences but he was very dismissive to me.

"The gags he would write were so badly written that I was sending them back to him.

"I couldn't sleep. The situation was unbelievable. I couldn't believe that he'd written this.

"As far as my reputation goes, I was getting standing ovations every night. I'm getting fans of the Blockheads coming from as far as Vancouver to see me."

The show moved to the West End this season after a highly successful run in Shoreditch.

Mr Charlton won a best actor nomination for his performance at The Stage awards last year and several key people involved in the play are also said to be unhappy about the move.

He has now been replaced in the lead role by Adrian Schiller.

Mr Charlton also expressed unease at working alongside Langham, who was convicted in 2007 but cleared of abusing a 14-year-old girl.

Mr Langham has refused to comment on the fiasco.

But a spokesman for the play said: "The producers have never before presented a show on the West End stage and therefore sought the advice of talented experts in all departments, including set design, lighting, sound, script, marketing and production. Jud Charlton personally chose to consult Chris Langham, an experienced and talented writer and performer, to be one of the several friends and advisers who assisted in preparing the show for its transfer to the West End. Subsequently, there were artistic and personal differences between Jud Charlton and Chris Langham.

"Chris Langham's contribution has never been a secret. In fact, along with the many other people who have lent their

support to the production, his name is included in the acknowledgement entry in the show's programme.


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