Why is David Walliams suing Britain's Got Talent?

Fans of the show want to know why former judge David Walliams is suing BGT.

David Walliams on the red carpet at a film festival
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Why is David Walliams suing Britain's Got Talent is the question on many people's lips, as reports emerge that the comedian has taken aim at the show's production company.

Comedian and children's author David Walliams was a popular judge on Britain's Got Talent for 10 years before he stepped down from the show last November. His resignation left fans wondering why David Walliams wasn't on BGT in 2023, following his replacement Bruno Tonioli making his debut when Britain's Got Talent started

Now, reports have emerged that David Walliams is suing the company that makes Britain's Got Talent, almost a year after he quit. The news has dragged up memories of the criticism he faced shortly before his resignation, following the leaking of comments he made about BGT contestants back in 2020, but the one thing TV fans want to know is why David Walliams is suing Britain's Got Talent

Why is David Walliams suing Britain's Got Talent?

David Walliams is reportedly suing BGT's production company, Freemantle, over a 'data protection breach'. The former judge and children's author lodged papers at London's High Court last Thursday (21st September), under his real name, David Williams.

In November 2022, David Walliams stepped down as a judge on the talent show. A source told The Sun at the time, "David has decided to bow out after a ten-year run. He wants to leave on a high after a wonderful time." They added, "He hasn’t taken the decision lightly, but it just feels like time to move on."

The news of his resignation came shortly after a leaked transcript of comments he had made about Britain's Got Talent contestants back in 2020 was published in The Guardian.

His comments hit the headlines and sparked public criticism of the talent show judge, who later apologised for making the "disrespectful comments", saying 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."

Reports have emerged that David Walliams has hired legal company Brandsmiths, who specialise in data protection breaches.

What did David Walliams say about BGT contestants?

According to the leaked transcript obtained by The GuardianDavid Walliams called one contestant a "c***" three times and mocked another during breaks in filming BGT auditions back in 2020.

One of the incidents involved a performer who engaged in some banter with the judges, in which he made a jibe about Walliams. After the contestant was off stage and out of earshot, Walliams described him as "a c***" three times.

Another incident occurred after a female contestant left the stage, when Walliams said: "She’s like the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f*** them, but you don’t."

The comments were picked up by microphones used to record discussions between the judges.

In a statement at the time, 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."

Meanwhile, 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."

David Walliams giving a speech in a tuxedo

(Image credit: Getty Images)

What is David Walliams doing now?

Since leaving Britain's Got Talent, David Walliams has continued in his work as a children's author, having published several new books in the past year.

In October, his brand new book The Blunders will be released, and the comedian is going to be on tour and doing book signings across the UK in the days around its release. 

In July, another of his children's books, The World's Worst Monsters, was released, while Robodog was released in March.

In addition, Walliams appears in the BBC's comedy Sandylands, which is currently airing on BBC Two and available to watch on iPlayer.

Elsewhere, David Walliams can be seen on his Instagram spending plenty of time with fellow friend and comedian Matt Lucas, and in August he spent his birthday celebrating with other stars including David Schwimmer, Ant McPartlin, Robbie Williams, Rob Brydon and BGT judges Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden.

David Walliams net worth

According to Celebrity Net Worth, David Walliams is worth $25million - that's around £20million.

This won't come as a surprise, as he is one of Britain's most successful comedians, and has previously picked up the award for Best Judge at the National Television Awards on more than one occasion. 

He first rose to fame on sketch comedy show Little Britain, and also starred on Come Fly With Me and Big School

As well as his TV success, David Walliams has written over 25 children’s books, and won the People’s Book Prize in 2009 for Mr Stink

In other celebrity news, we've revealed the Strictly Come Dancing line up for 2023, and we've got everything you need to know about Take That's upcoming tour

Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.