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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Lisa McLoughlin

Everything we know about David Walliams' case against the makers of Britain's Got Talent so far

David Walliams has hit the headlines again this week as snippets of his legal case against the production company behind Britain’s Got Talent came to light.

The comedian, 52, stepped down from his role as a judge on the ITV talent show last November after leaked audio, obtained by The Guardian, revealed that he described an elderly contestant as a “c***” and made another derogatory comment about a female auditionee.

Walliams publicly apologised for the comments which were picked up on microphones used by the judges at their desk in the centre of the auditorium and insisted that the “private conversations were never intended to be shared”.

The publication reported that a spokesperson for Thames TV, part of FremantleMedia, said at the time that though the production company regarded Walliams’ comments as private, his language was “inappropriate".

While ITV said: “We do not condone the language outlined in these allegations, and we have spoken to the producers of Britain’s Got Talent.

“Duty of care towards all participants on any of our programmes is always of paramount importance and we have protocols and guidelines in place for all our production partners.”

Walliams pictured alongside his former BGT judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon (PA)

Almost a year on from the furore and stepping down from the series, the Little Britain star lodged legal proceedings against FremantleMedia, who make BGT, in London’s High Court last month over an alleged data breach.

While no further details have been disclosed, two notable titbits have emerged in the press this week suggesting that as a result of the leak, he’s lost out on several projects with BBC and Channel 4 as well as “significant loss of earnings”.

Firstly, his legal team, reportedly Brandsmiths, who specialise in data protection breaches, claimed that the BBC “pulled part of its funding” for an animation project based on his 2011 book series Gangsta Granny due to “negative publicity” in documents seen by The Mirror.

The series is said to be in development, but yet-to-be commissioned by the broadcaster, who have adapted seven of his children's books, with funding partially provided by the corporation.

Then days after it was reported that the BBC had pulled funding, it was alleged that Channel 4 had done so too following the controversy.

Deadline, who obtained the High Court documents, reported that offers of work had been “withdrawn,” including a “travelogue across India on Channel 4.”

The publication stated that the series was said to have been cancelled “entirely” because of the furore.

Although Bruno Tonoli took Walliams' seat on the BGT judges panel alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon, he’s keeping busy aside from legal proceedings.

Walliams' Little Britain co-writer Matt Lucas revealed in June that the pair had “quit our jobs” and started writing together again for a new project.

Speaking on the The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show on BBC Radio 2, the 48-year-old said: “So me and David Walliams have started writing together again, we just thought, it’s time, it’s time.

“So, we’ve sort of quit our jobs and decided to do that.”

Walliams is also set to appear in feature film, The Liar, opposite Charles Dance, Rupert Everett and Jeff Goldblum.

The film written by Stephen Fry and Tony Hagger centres on a “public schoolboy whose proficiency in the fibbing department, and the fallout from a schoolboy crush, opens up a marvellous fictional world of espionage.”

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