12 December 2001 | WENN
Starsky & Hutch star David Soul has won $70,000 in damages after a libellous review of a play he appeared in. The American actor — who played Ken ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson in the seventies TV cop show — successfully sued British newspaper journalist and TV presenter Matthew Wright over a review of one of his plays. Wright slated the 1998 West End, London production of Dead Monkey, claiming in Britain’s Daily Mirror newspaper it was the worst he had ever seen — even though he hadn’t actually been to the play.
The journalist also claimed audience members were laughing openly at Soul’s performance, and ushers were begging audience members to stay to the end. It was further alleged that only 45 people attended one Monday night production, and that it would have made more sense if the theatre had housed homeless people instead. The London court found all these statements were false, and that Wright — who had never actually seen the production — had sent a freelance journalist to attend the play.
Mr Wright’s solicitor Mark Bateman offered his apologies for the inaccuracies, as his client was ordered to pay $70,000 damages and legal costs estimated at $350,000. Soul, 58, commented after the case:
I think it’s a cornerstone of the theatre that you have to see the play, you have to be there, you have to have the facts. And if you are going to use something like that, make sure you get the facts right.