David Walliams 'claims BBC cut funding from his project'
23rd October 2023

David Walliams ‘claims BBC cut funding from his project after BGT bosses leaked star’s foul-mouthed rant about contestant’

David Walliams has claimed that the BBC cut funding from one of his projects after his foul-mouthed remarks on Britain’s Got Talent came to light. 

The comedian, 52, decided to leave the ITV talent show after he was forced to apologise for describing an elderly contestant as a ‘c***’ in 2022.

He is now suing TV giant Fremantle over an alleged data breach, and in High Court documents seen by The Mirror, he claims that the alleged leak harmed his other projects. 

David states that the BBC pulled part of its funding for an animation series of his 2011 book Gangsta Granny due to ‘negative publicity’.

The series is said to be in development but yet to be commissioned by the BBC, with funding provided by the corporation prior to David’ BGT scandal. 

Claims: David Walliams has claimed that the BBC cut funding from one of his projects after his foul-mouthed remarks on Britain’s Got Talent came to light

According to documents submitted by David’s lawyer, non-BBC adaptations of the star’s books have been axed. 

The BBC have adapted seven of David’s books, with the most recent coming out last December – Gangsta Granny Strikes Again – which starred Walliams, ­Sheridan Smith, Kevin Bishop and Griff Rhys Jones.

Insiders told The Mirror that his next series is  ‘going into production soon and will be broadcast on the BBC.’

The source said: ‘David remains the best-selling children’s author in the UK and the animation is progressing as expected.’

MailOnline has contacted David’s representatives and the BBC for comment. 

The news comes after Britain’s Got Talent insiders told MailOnline he was ‘warned about his behaviour’ before his off-colour remarks about contestants resulted in his departure. 

According to court documents, bosses ‘knew of his controversial remarks about contestants when they offered him a £1m contact’ – but insiders have since dismissed those claims 

A BGT source told MailOnline: ‘What David said was completely unacceptable and he was warned of his behaviour. 

‘This whole writ is frankly bizarre – there are a number of claims in it which seem off-beat but there certainly wasn’t a contract ready to be signed and sealed.’ 

A source at Fremantle told The Guardian that the show’s judges were aware their conversations were being recorded, adding: ‘It seems somewhat bizarre, as it was widely reported in 2018 that all the comments judges made at the desk were going to be recorded, even when they weren’t speaking to contestants.’

A Fremantle spokesperson previously said: ‘We had a long and productive relationship with David and so are surprised and saddened by this legal action. 

They added: ‘For our part, we remain available and open to dialogue to resolve this matter amicably. However, in the interim, we will examine the various allegations and are prepared to robustly defend ourselves if necessary.’

On screen: David states that the BBC pulled part of its funding for an animation series of his 2011 book Gangsta Granny due to ‘negative publicity’ (David pictured with Sheridan Smith and Archie Yates in 2022’s Gangsta Granny Strikes Again!) 

The High Court writ reportedly sees David accuse Fremantle of recording, transcribing and retaining private conversations for ten years .

He has reportedly alleged that his microphone was kept on and recorded throughout the entire day during filming, including when he went to the toilet.

It has been alleged Fremantle produced and retained transcripts of the audio recordings, which David claims included private information with ‘no relevance to production’ – such as conversations about his marriage, sex life and family disputes.

The transcripts reportedly amounted to 1,700 hours of audio recordings across ten years, as well as 41,526 hours of visual recordings from 191 days of filming.

A copy of the transcripts was allegedly also made available to Simon Cowell’s co-producer firm Syco upon request, but a source told The Sun that none were ever requested.

READ MORE: Amanda Holden speaks of sadness at David Walliams’ Britain’s Got Talent exit

‘All four judges would regularly make jokes using rude and/or sexual language: that was the culture among the judges on the show,’ his lawyers reportedly claimed.

They claimed the judges made such jokes to keep themselves amused during long days of filming and never intended for the remarks to be made public, as they were ‘private ­conversations among adult friends’.

David is reportedly seeking £1million he stood to get from Britain’s Got Talent, as well as £1.7million in lost earnings and £3.4million covering future losses for at least two years – totalling £6.1million.

But sources reportedly claimed this could rise to as much as £10million as David is said to be seeking unspecified damages for psychiatric harm, distress and upset, the loss of control over his private information, and legal costs.

David’s earnings reportedly dropped from £3.7million in 2022 to just £101,800 in the initial five months of 2023, according to the court papers seen by The Sun.

In the scandal, David was also heard disparaging a female contestant, calling her a ‘slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f*** them, but you don’t’.

Comedian Clare Harrison Mccartney later claimed these comments were about her and branded David a ‘sad misogynist’, but producers denied the remarks were aimed at her.

Bruno Tonioli later took over from him as a judge on the talent show, signing a big money deal.

The comments, made in January 2020 during auditions at the London Palladium, were picked up on the programme’s microphones.

He and his lawyers argued at the time that they were private conversations that were never intended for broadcast, but two weeks later he was ousted. 

In one incident, an older performer engaged in light-hearted banter with the judges in which he made a jibe about Walliams, an expose by The Guardian claimed.

Court case: David (pictured in 2019) has reportedly accused London-based Fremantle, which produces the reality series for ITV , of an unlawful data protection breach 

After the audition, the pensioner left, after which Walliams is said to have described him as a ‘c**t’ three times.

In a separate incident, after a female contestant had walked off stage, Walliams remarked: ‘She’s like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f*** them, but you don’t.’ He later added: ‘I know, she’s just like: ‘Oh, f*** off!’ I was saying, she thinks you want to f*** her, but you don’t.

‘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 b***r, but now it’s going, it’s now shrivelled up inside my body.’

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