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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Hannah Roberts

David Walliams says Britain’s Got Talent leak led to ‘suicidal thoughts’

PA Wire

David Walliams says he had suicidal thoughts after leaked remarks he made as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent were made public, according to a legal filing against the show’s production company.

Walliams, who was a judge on the ITV talent show between 2012 and 2022 is suing FremantleMedia for misuse of private information and for breaching UK General Data Protection Regulation (UKGDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018.

High Court documents released on Tuesday said Walliams is accusing the company of causing him psychiatric harm and financial loss.

The TV star, real name David Edward Williams, left Britain’s Got Talent in 2022 after he apologised for making “disrespectful comments” about auditioning contestants during filming breaks in January 2020 at the London Palladium.

The remarks came to light in November 2022 after a transcript was leaked to the Guardian.

The court filing states the 52-year-old believes producers “retained transcripts… of everything he said” during his time on the show and claims the defendant, FremantleMedia, “must be the ultimate source of the transcripts” that were leaked.

According to the documents, Walliams and the other judges on the show would not usually remove their microphones until filming had ended for the day.

The comedian assumed he was only being recorded when contestants were on stage or during behind-the-scenes filming.

Walliams alleges private conversations, including him talking about his struggles with food addiction, his father’s death and his wife leaving him, could have been recorded by the production company.

The filing included details of a draft report by Dr Mark Collins, a retired consultant psychiatrist and practicing psychotherapist, who has treated Walliams.

It said the leak of the transcript had “a profound, severe and, at times, very worrying effect on (Walliams’s) mental health.”

He also said that Walliams “is plagued by uncontrollable negative thoughts”, including “active suicidal thoughts” and revealed he is “on heavier doses of medication than at any time during my being his consultant psychiatrist”.

Walliams also claims his earnings from television and other public appearances have been “very severely reduced” as a result of negative publicity surrounding the story.

FremantleMedia has been approached for comment.

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