The creators of Little Britain have accepted libel damages over claims their show had outraged gay rights groups.

Neither Matt Lucas nor David Walliams appeared at the high court hearing in London, during which Express Newspapers offered an apology over a story published in the Daily Star Sunday in September.

Under the headline "Gay and fatty jokes put Yanks on the warpath", the paper claimed the pair had offended "pink protest groups" with scenes from Little Britain USA, the new version of their BBC show.

Mr Justice Eady, presiding, ruled there had been no such protest and the two groups mentioned in the article did not appear to exist.

Supposed spokesmen for the gay rights organisations referred to in the newspaper were quoted as describing scenes from Little Britain USA as "grossly insulting" and demanding the show be cancelled.

Lucas and Walliams' advocate, Rod Christie-Miller, said the article had caused considerable distress to his clients and significantly damaged their reputations.

He added the pair were hurt by the allegations' misrepresentations of their relationship with the gay community.

Ian Helme, Express Newspapers' counsel, offered the publisher's sincere apologies for the false claims made in the article.

Little Britain USA is to return for a second series despite reports that it was too rude for American viewers.

The HBO show received underwhelming reviews from stateside television critics over its "crude" and "tasteless" humour.

But according to Walliams, the sketch show's US network were happy with its performance.

19/12/2008 15:46:41