Rory McGrath has admitted stalking a married woman for 14 months.
The TV star had denied the single charge at an earlier hearing but changed his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial at Huntingdon Magistrates’ Court in Cambridgeshire on Thursday.
Prosecutors said McGrath, who has appeared in programmes such as BBC panel show They Think It’s All Over and comedy documentary Three Men In A Boat, sent the woman electronic messages, approached her in the street and followed her.
The court heard that the 60-year-old, of Grantchester Street, Cambridge, also sent letters to the woman’s husband, and that the offending happened between June 2015 and August 2016.
His alleged victim cannot be named for legal reasons.
In 2013, McGrath was cautioned by police over a drunken assault against a couple.
He was said to have attacked the man and woman, who were trying to help him while he was “heavily in drink”, police said at the time of the incident.
The man suffered a bloody nose and a scratched face, and McGrath was subsequently arrested over the assaults, which took place at a house in Poole, near Redruth in Cornwall, where McGrath grew up.
Anthony Abell, prosecuting, said McGrath first met the complainant in the 1990s and then more recently through work as she was a writer and broadcaster.
“They got on well and began to exchange messages and their friendship developed into a physical relationship from November 2010 to May 2015,” said Mr Abell. “It was in May 2015 that the last act of intimacy took place between the two of them.
“Both the defendant and the complainant were married to other people and their relationship had managed to be kept secret from their respective spouses.
“In the complainant’s case she was unhappily married.
“Although the affair had started off as something that they both cherished, by August 2014 the complainant had become very unhappy with the relationship.
“She began to find Mr McGrath difficult and unpleasant company.
“I don’t plan to go into details but there was a time when she was seeking to disengage from the long-standing affair.
“She was very conscious of the fact that he did have several photographs of them together, including some intimate photographs as well that had been taken consensually that he had stored electronically.
“She made it clear to him that she wanted it to end towards the end of May 2015.
“Following on from that she asked Mr McGrath to delete from his phone and any other devices anything that related to her to protect her and her family.
“The defendant seems to have found it very, very difficult to deal with.”
Mr Abell said McGrath then pursued a course of conduct described as “unstable and tempestuous”.