Little Britain stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas have accepted damages and a public apology from Express Newspapers over an article published in the Daily Star Sunday in September that falsely claimed that gay rights groups considered their Little Britain USA programme offensive.

Matt Lucas, who is gay and his co-star David Walliams did not attend the High Court in London to hear their case which concerned a story published under the headline “Gay and fatty jokes put Yanks on the warpath”.

Their lawyer, Rod Christie-Miller, told Mr Justice Eady that the newspaper article contained a made up claim that Little Britain USA had offended gay groups in America.

The two gay groups referenced within the article did not exist, the court was told. Mr Christie-Miller said the newspaper article suggested that the programme was grossly insulting and that there were calls for a boycott by gay and lesbian groups.

The court was told that the fabricated story caused distress to the stars and that it damaged their reputations.

Expres Newspapers is a company owned by Richard Desmond, who made his fortune publishing sexual magazines and founded gay magazine Attitude.

Ian Helme, representing Express Newspapers offered the court sincere apologies and admitted that the articles contained false allegations.

Express Newspapers will pay compensation together with the legal costs of the Little Britain stars.

In October, LSE researcher Deborah Finding’s study, I Can’t Believe You Just Said That: figuring gender and sexuality in Little Britain claimed the show’s character’s physical traits are often projections of ‘nasty ideas’ rooted in fears about the working class, homosexuals or other less powerful groups.