Grant’s comments widen the scope of the phone hacking scandal from Rupert Murdoch-owned newspapers, as Murdoch does not own the Mail on Sunday.

Lord Justice Leveson heard how a story in the Mail on Sunday claimed that Grant’s relationship with then-girlfriend Jemima Khan was in trouble because of the actor’s “late night phone calls with a plummy-voiced studio executive”.

Grant told the inquiry that he would love to hear what the [Mail on Sunday’s] explanation of that is, if it wasn’t phone hacking.”

He called it a “bizarre, left field” story and said he could not think “for the life of me” where the story might have come from.

Grant went on to explain that he could only think that messages left on his phone by an executive’s assistant, who had a voice which could be described as “plummy”, had been picked up by the paper.

The Four Weddings and a Funeral star explained that he had brought libel actions on between six and 10 occasions in the past 17 years, and has in the past accepted libel damages over articles  about his private life in both the Mail on Sunday and the Daily Mail.

In the wake of his winning damages, Grant said in a statement: “I took this action because I was tired of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday papers publishing almost entirely fictional articles about my private life for their own financial gain.

“I’m also hoping that this statement in court might remind people that the so-called ‘close friends’ or ‘close sources’ on which these stories claim to be based almost never exist.”