David Walliams Reaches Settlement With Production Company Behind Britain's Got Talent

Fremantle said it was "sincerely sorry" for the "distress" caused to David Walliams after recordings of his "private conversations" were published in the media.
David Walliams on the BGT panel in 2019
David Walliams on the BGT panel in 2019

David Walliams and the production company behind Britain’s Got Talent, called Fremantle, have reached a settlement in their recent court case, it has been confirmed.

Back in September, it was reported that David was taking legal action against Fremantle after two-year-old recordings of him making explicit and disparaging remarks about some auditionees on the set of BGT were shared in the media in November 2022.

Shortly after these remarks were made public, it was revealed that the former Little Britain comedian would be parting ways with Britain’s Got Talent after 10 years with the show.

Former Strictly Come Dancing star Bruno Tonioli has since taken over his seat on the panel.

The BGT judges pictured together in 2020
The BGT judges pictured together in 2020
Jeff Spicer via Getty Images

On Monday, a Fremantle spokesperson confirmed: “We are pleased that we have achieved an amicable resolution of this dispute with David.

“We are sincerely sorry that his private conversations when a judge on Britain’s Got Talent were published, and the great distress this caused David. We have reviewed our production practices on the show to ensure they fully respect the expectations of our talent whilst satisfying the requirements of the show.

“We have enjoyed a great relationship with David over many years. We thank David for being an important part of the Britain’s Got Talent family and the enduring success of the show and hope to have opportunities to work with him in the future.”

HuffPost UK has contacted David Walliams’ management for comment.

According to a transcript shared with The Guardian last year, the comedian and children’s author allegedly branded one elderly Britain’s Got Talent hopeful a “c***” three times after they made a jibe about him in an unsuccessful audition in 2020.

Of another female contestant, David reportedly remarked: “She’s like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to fuck them, but you don’t.”

According to the newspaper, he then continued: “It’s the last thing on your mind, but she’s like: ‘Yep, I bet you do!’. ‘No I don’t!’ I had a bit of a boner, but now it’s going, it’s now shrivelled up inside my body.”

David pictured on the BGT panel in 2020
David pictured on the BGT panel in 2020

Following the publication of his comments, David issued an apology and said: “These were private conversations and – like most conversations with friends – were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry.”

A spokesperson for Thames TV – the entertainment label of Fremantle in the UK – also reiterated at the time that while David’s alleged comments were not intended to be made public, the judge’s use of language was “inappropriate” and he had been given a reminder of the show’s “expectations as to future professional conduct”.

Meanwhile, BGT judge and executive producer Simon Cowell claimed of David’s exit in April: “From what I understand, he decided to take a step back. It all happened relatively quickly. I was on holiday and then the next thing is I’m having conversations about who’s going to take his place.

“We did say to the two producers: ‘You have to make the final decision’ because, yeah, I am an exec producer, but they’re more hands on.”

Simon added: “Obviously everyone had some input — the network, the producers, [production company] Fremantle, all of us said at the time, these comments are completely unacceptable.

“I had not heard them before and, yeah, it was upsetting. But from where I’m sitting, this wasn’t something I believe was ­constant.”


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