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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Career highs and private lows for Langham
Chris Langham's conviction on child porn offences signals a dramatic change in fortunes for a man who had reached the pinnacle of his television career.

Chris Langham with his Bafta award
Chris Langham's Bafta win was overshadowed by child porn charges

Only one year ago Chris Langham was accepting a Bafta award for his comedy acting in the BBC political satire The Thick of It.

On the same night he shared another award with co-star Paul Whitehouse for their series Help, featuring a therapist and his clients.

It was the pinnacle for Langham, who had won genuine stardom following a chequered career interrupted by alcohol and drug addictions.

But instead of his name being remembered for his acting and writing skills, Langham is likely to be remembered for his conviction for child porn offences.

It was just three days after his Bafta award that police charged Langham with the child pornography offences. Four months later he was accused of abusing an underage girl, a charge he was acquitted of in court.

The actor, from Golford, near Cranbrook, Kent, vowed to clear his name. But some industry observers say his conviction could spell the end of a television career that has spanned nearly 40 years.

Langham's first break in TV came nearly four decades earlier, on Spike Milligan's Q in 1969.

It will now be very difficult to disassociate his work from his private life
Alkarim Jivani, Time Out magazine

In the 1970s he was the sole British writer on The Muppet Show, and he shared an Emmy Award in 1981 for the hit programme.

He was then part of the original team behind the groundbreaking Not The Nine O'Clock News, but he was dropped at the end of the first series as a dependency on drink and drugs developed.

Genuine stardom would elude him for another 25 years.

Jurors at the trial heard about Langham's battle with drink and drugs, including how he went on to become an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) mentor to a number of friends.

A BBC reporter in court said he spoke candidly and confidently when giving evidence - that his experience of AA meetings had clearly got him used to talking about himself.

In a 2006 interview with The Guardian prior to being charged, he admitted that cocaine and alcohol helped him suppress his anxieties and attain the approval he craved.

Chris Langham in a publicity photo for Help
Jurors at Langham's trial laughed when a clip of Help was shown

"As long as I was drinking and being quite hyperactive, there was a lot of stuff about me that I didn't know," he told the newspaper.

"I find life quite difficult and if it weren't for tools that I use that allow me to get through the next hour, I don't know how I would deal with it."

He eventually sobered up and a drink and drug-free Langham began to rebuild his reputation during the 1990s, writing and appearing in Kiss Me Kate and Bremner, Bird And Fortune.

But it was not until he appeared in Help and The Thick Of It that he became anything close to a household name.

Now Langham will struggle to be associated with anything other than this court case, says Time Out critic and broadcaster Alkarim Jivani.

"The irony is up until now he has been a comedian's comedian and after this he will gain more notoriety for the things that have emerged in court than he ever did for the success he had as a result of his considerable talents.

"It will now be very difficult to disassociate his work from his private life, and once it's impossible to avoid noticing the man behind the make-up it's fatal for a performer's career."

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