IAN Hislop’s latest play is Trial by Laughter, but fans wishing to see it will endure of trial of patience, because it won’t come to a local venue until the autumn.

But it’s sure to worth the wait, as Hislop and co-writer, Nick Newman have turned a wry eye on the past to look at contemporary issues, including fake news and restrictions on free speech.

Hislop says: “Press freedom are still under threat as they were 200 years ago when William Hone took on the might of Royalty and a bullying Tory government. Hone dared to ask ‘Is laughter treason?’ - raising issues which are as relevant now as they were then.

“It’s a tale of lawyers, lechers and libel – with added sedition and blasphemy. It is immensely exciting to bring this world to life on stage, with this funny, inspiring and true story of a satirical David versus Goliath.”

A spokesman said: “Following the sell-out success of The Wipers Times in the West End and across the country, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman have once again taken inspiration from real life events for their new play Trial by Laughter, based on their critically acclaimed original BBC Radio 4 drama of the same name.

“The production will be developed with The Watermill Theatre and following this, it will be heading on a UK tour.

But what is it all about?

The spokesman added: “In 1817 bookseller, publisher and satirist William Hone stood trial for parodying religion, the despotic government and the libidinous monarchy. The only crime he had committed was to be funny.”

Satirist, writer and journalist Ian Hislop has been the editor of Private Eye since 1986. He has frequently appeared on Question Time (BBC One), and since 1990 has been team captain on BBC’s Have I Got News For You. “

The dates for the diary are Monday November 12 to Saturday November 17 at The Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham.

Further details at: https://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/m-shows/trial-by-laughter/