An award-winning Downton Abbey producer accused of sexual assault had his latest court appearance adjourned for a third time today after he was diagnosed with cancer.

Film and television writer Chris Croucher, 39, is accused of molesting the woman in Westminster, central London, last December.

He is charged with sexual assault on a woman and assault.

The screenwriter and assistant director, who has worked with Hollywood A-listers Scarlett Johansson and Natalie Portman, failed to attend court due to ill health.

Previous hearings have been put off after magistrates were told he was diagnosed with cancer and is receiving treatment.

Suleman Hussain, prosecuting, said: "The adjournment was proposed by the defendant.

"An application for adjournment has already been granted.

"The defendant is not subject to bail at this moment.

"My understanding the reason why his solicitor is not here because the application to adjourn had already been granted."

The hearing was adjourned to November 17 at Westminster Magistrates Court.

Croucher, of Guildford, Surrey, was the assistant director of eight episodes of Downton Abbey, as well as other TV shows and films including Whitechapel, 28 Weeks Later and The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy.

During his time on the ITV drama, the series received two Emmy nominations and won the National Television Award for best drama twice.