top of page

David Walliams files case against Britain’s Got Talent production company

Case follows Walliams’ exit as BGT judge after transcript surfaced of him making offensive off-air comments about contestants

David Walliams has filed a case against the production company that makes the ITV show Britain’s Got Talent.

The action being taken by the show’s former judge against FremantleMedia is listed as dealing with data protection, according to the BBC. No other details have been given.

Walliams, one of the UK’s best-known television personalities and children’s book authors, announced he was leaving Britain’s Got Talent in November 2022 after it was reported that he had made disrespectful comments about contestants on the show.

The actor and comedian had been part of the judging lineup since 2012 but his position came into question after the Guardian saw a leaked transcript of offensive comments he had made during an audition show at the London Palladium in January 2020.

The inappropriate remarks were picked up by microphones used to capture discussions between the judges. In the transcript, Walliams referred to an older contestant as a “cunt” three times when the contestant was out of earshot after an unsuccessful audition.

He made sexually explicit comments shortly after a female contestant auditioning on the same show had walked off stage, saying: “She thinks you want to fuck her, but you don’t.”

At the time, Walliams apologised for his comments. He said in a statement: “I would like to apologise to the people I made disrespectful comments about during breaks in filming for Britain’s Got Talent in 2020. These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”

Thames TV, the production company behind Britain’s Got Talent, which is part of FremantleMedia, said the company regarded Walliams’ comments as private but that his language was “inappropriate”. Lawyers for Walliams and Thames TV said the comments were part of a private conversation never intended for broadcast.

In a statement after the incident, Thames TV said: “Although relating to a private conversation almost three years ago, the language used was inappropriate. Even though it was private, those involved have been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities and the show’s expectations as to future professional conduct.”

Walliams was judging alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon when the remarks were made. Shortly after the transcript was leaked, the former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli was announced as David Walliams’ replacement on Britain’s Got Talent in January 2023.

A spokesperson for Britain’s Got Talent said next year’s judging lineup was yet to be finalised and no decision had been taken on whether Walliams would be involved. A report in the Sun, however, stated that he would be leaving the programme after 10 years.

Walliams’s lawyers have been approached for comment. FremantleMedia declined to comment.


bottom of page