Assange Simpsons
Julian Assange on the 500th episode of The Simpsons

Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange is to appear as himself in the 500th episode of The Simpsons, which will air on 19 February.

Entertainment Weekly broke the news late on 30 January, just two days before Assange is due to appear before the supreme court in London, in what could be the final stage of his battle against extradition to Sweden.

EW reports that Simpsons creator Matt Groening heard a rumour that Assange was interested in appearing in the show; "Assange recorded his lines at a location unknown to Simpsons producers - he was and is still under house arrest in Britain - as Jean [executive producer, Al Jean] directed him remotely from Los Angeles."

It is reported that in the 500th episode Homer and Marge "go off the grid" to a remote location after discovering that the residents of Springfield are holding a secret town meeting to kick the family out of town.

In this remote location they meet Assange, who becomes their new neighbour. "He invites them over for a home movie," Jean explains, "and it's an Afghan wedding being bombed."

Despite his on-going legal battle against extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault made by two former Wikileaks volunteers, Assange is not afraid of some publicity.

The Wikileaks founder is due to start a weekly politics television show, which will be broadcast on Russia's English language channel RT in March, although it is unclear if the show has been pre-recorded.

Al Jean continues, in his interview with EW: "He's a controversial figure, and there's a good reason he's controversial. There was a discussion internally whether or not to have him on the show, but ultimately we went ahead and did it.

"There's nothing we did that has anything to do with the legal situations that he's in...we wanted to make sure it was satirical, and he was willing to do that."

Assange will appear in the supreme court on 1 February for a two-day hearing and could be extradited to Sweden within 10 days if his plea is unsuccessful.