David Walliams’ future as a judge on Britain’s Got Talent is “very much up in the air”, a spokesperson for the ITV programme has said, amid reports he is leaving the show after 10 years.
Walliams apologised recently for making “disrespectful comments” about contestants during the recording of an episode of the programme, following a Guardian report.
The Sun newspaper on Friday reported on its front page that Walliams was to step down from the show. But a spokesperson for BGT said no final decision had been taken around the 2023 judging lineup.
“The judging panel for Britain’s Got Talent 2023 will be announced in due course,” the spokesperson said. “It’s still very much up in the air at the moment on whether David is going to take part in next year’s show. No decision, though, has been made as yet.”
Walliams is part of the show’s judging panel alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.
His apology, made earlier this month, came after the comedian was recorded making derogatory remarks and sexually explicit comments about participants auditioning for the show at the London Palladium in January 2020.
According to a leaked transcript seen by the Guardian, Walliams referred to an older performer as a “cunt” three times when he was out of earshot, after an unsuccessful audition. During the audition, the contestant had engaged in lighthearted banter with the judges in which he made a jibe about Walliams.
The transcript also recorded further sexually explicit comments were made after a female contestant had walked off the stage.
In a statement, Walliams said: “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.”
The Guardian reported that lawyers for Walliams and Thames TV, the production company behind Britain’s Got Talent, argued the comments were part of a private conversation never intended for broadcast.
In a statement, 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.”
Walliams’ comments were picked up by microphones used to capture discussions between the judges.
In a statement, 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.”
The Guardian reported that Walliams’ comments were the only instances of derogatory remarks made about contestants from three episodes that were reviewed.