David Walliams accepts 'way under' £10m demand as he settles lawsuit

So why did David Walliams ‘accept just £1 million’ in his Britain’s Got Talent lawsuit after demanding £10 million? Former show judge walks away with ‘a year’s salary as he settles legal battle’

  • READ MORE:  Full details of the foul-mouthed BGT rant and what’s happened since

David Walliams settled his Britain’s Got Talent lawsuit for ‘comfortably less’ than the £10 million he demanded and walked away with £1 million, it has been claimed.

Insiders have indicated that the settlement figure was equivalent to around a year’s salary.

It was confirmed on Monday that the TV star, 52, had settled his lawsuit against Freemantle, the makers of Britain’s Got Talent, after being forced out of the ITV show following the publication of remarks he made while judging.

David stepped down as a judge a year ago after a recording of him making offensive comments about contestants was leaked.

It’s claimed the settlement figure is due to many of David’s arguments in the case against Freemantle ‘failing’. 

Fremantle had to accept that their security procedures had failed which allowed Walliams’ comments to be leaked to the Guardian, hence the decision to settle. 

David Walliams settled his Britain’s Got Talent lawsuit for ‘comfortably less’ than the £10 million he demanded

Sources have told MailOnline that the star agreed to a settlement which is said to be ‘way under’ the £10 million which he was seeking, and comfortably less than £5 million.

The former Little Britain star is said to have claimed in court documents that producers ‘recorded, transcribed and retained’ all his conversations during his decade-long stint and that he had no idea his microphone was ‘kept on and recording’ throughout the entire day of filming.

He alleged 1,700 hours of audio recordings were collected, including a personal chat with his fellow judges Alesha Dixon, Simon Cowell and Amanda Holden about the impact of his father’s death.

He claimed that Fremantle broke data protection rules but Fremantle pointed to the fact that in April 2018, BGT announced all cameras ‘would now be rolling 24/7’. 

The star had been recorded on a hot mic during an audition show at the London Palladium calling an elderly contestant a ‘c***’ three times when they left the stage.

He also claimed another contestant would think he wanted to ‘f***’ her. Walliams had apologised publicly when the recordings were first published by The Guardian last year.

In the high court documents, which were released last month, his lawyers argued that the comments were part of a private conversation not intended for broadcast. The lawyers for Thames TV, the production company behind BGT agreed.

The insiders have indicated that the relatively modest settlement was equivalent to around a year’s salary – roughly £1 million (pictured on the show with co-judges Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and Simon Cowell 

The court documents also showed that he received a letter from The Guardian about his leaked audio last year, months before he was offered a new contract from BGT.

Walliams claimed the publication’s letter was the first time he realised Fremantle was ‘collecting and retaining vastly more of his personal data than he had been given to understand’.

However, a source from Fremantle said the show’s judges were aware they were always being recorded, adding to the publication: ‘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.’

Walliams’s lawyers say he accepted the job offer 18 days after The Guardian’s November 10, 2022, article was published.

However, Fremantle withdrew the offer on December, 14, which Walliams claimed was ‘in response to the publication’ of the article.

Court documents showed that the author and broadcaster stated that his earnings had been ‘very severely reduced’ due to the negative publicity around the story

David said in court documents that he has battled severe depression since the sacking and has had ‘active suicidal thoughts’. In a report, consultant psychiatrist Dr Mark Collins, who has treated David for years, said the star’s depression was ‘possibly the worst since I first met him’.

Collins said the leak of the transcripts ‘has had a profound, severe and, at times, very worrying effect on his mental health’.

READ MORE: BBC defends ‘racist’ Little Britain sketch where David Walliams says Asian character ‘smells of soy sauce’, as corporation claims scene is intended to ‘expose and ridicule outdated prejudices that still exist in parts of UK society’


Court documents also showed that the star stated that his earnings had been ‘very severely reduced’ due to the negative publicity around the story.

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

Last October, it was reported that the series was in development but yet to be commissioned by the BBC, with funding provided by the corporation prior to David’ BGT scandal.

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

A Freemantle spokesperson said on Monday: ‘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.’ 

Representatives for Walliams have been contacted by MailOnline for comment. 

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