Hugh Grant has been carving out quite a niche for himself outside the movie business in recent months.
A few months ago he secretly recorded some highly revealing confessions of tabloid journalist Paul McMullan for the New Statesmen.
In doing so he revealed – months ahead of much of the British media – that the News of the World were not just intercepting the phones of celebrities, but may have also been hacking the phones of murder victims:
Hugh Grant : Ah . . . I think that was one of the questions asked last week at one of the parliamentary committees. They asked Yates [John Yates, acting deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police] if it was true that he thought that the NoW had been hacking the phones of friends and family of those girls who were murdered . . . the Soham murder and the Milly girl [Milly Dowler].
Paul McMullan: Yeah. Yeah. It’s more than likely. Yeah . . . It was quite routine. Yeah – friends and family is something that’s not as easy to justify as the other things.
Although Nick Davies of The Guardian has doggedly led the way on this story, which large parts of the British press have shamefully resisted covering, Grant has become something of a celebrity spokesman against the excesses of the tabloid press.
Speaking on BBC 5 Live yesterday to Victoria Derbyshire, he not only stated his case eloquently but there was a lively discussion as his former tabloid nemesis McMullan joined him live on air.
Have a listen here:
He also appeared on the BBC News channel later in the day, where his second confrontation with McMullen became very popular on the web (many Reddit commenters seemed thrilled the the BBC media player literally goes up to 11):
> More on the News of the World phone hacking affair at Wikipedia
> 5 Live
> Peter Oborne of The Spectator on the code of silence that infects the British press