David Walliams and Simon Cowell’s friendship is said to be ‘on the rocks’ as the comedian sues his former bosses at Britain’s Got Talent.
The Little Britain creator, 52, is seeking significant damages from London-based Fremantle for a data protection breach after he quit his £1.5million a year job when audio surfaced of him making vile remarks about contestants during a break in filming.
And while David and Simon, 63, once close friendship is said to be on the brink of collapse, the comedian has a number of stars who are still supporting him in the wake of the controversy.
At his 52nd birthday party earlier this month, fellow Britain’s Got Talent judges Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon and host Ant McPartlin attended – alongside a whole host of showbiz stars.
From Hollywood actors to footballers, we take a look at who is team David…
Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon
Happier times: David Walliams and Simon Cowell’s friendship is said to be ‘on the rocks’ as the comedian sues his former bosses at Britain’s Got Talent (pictured in 2020)
Pals: While Amanda and Alesha are fiercely loyal to Simon, they also formed a close friendship with David and were at his 52nd birthday party earlier this month
While Amanda and Alesha are fiercely loyal to Simon, they also formed a close friendship with David.
The comedian took his seat alongside them as a host of Britain’s Got Talent for ten years, before he stepped down from his role last year.
Former Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli took his place. When David announced he was departing the show, Amanda said on The One Show: ‘We’ll miss David.’
Sweet: Walliams also counts Sir Michael Caine, 90, among his friends. The acting legend turned up to David’s star-studded bash and sat next to the comic
Royalty: David and Michael both starred in the 2021 film Twist, which was a modern take on Oliver Twist (pictured with Sir Tom Courtenay, 86)
Walliams also counts Sir Michael Caine, 90, among his friends.
The acting legend turned up to David’s star-studded bash and sat next to the comic as he was presented a birthday cake.
David and Michael both starred in the 2021 film Twist, which was a modern take on Oliver Twist.
Unlikely friendship: The Little Britain star has surprised fans with his unlikely friendship with Friends actor David Schwimmer, 56
The Little Britain star has surprised fans with his unlikely friendship with Friends actor David Schwimmer, 56.
The pair have been friends for years and have often shared snaps together from times when they went out for dinner and watched Stevie Wonder in Hyde Park in 2019.
David attended the former BGT judge’s birthday party earlier this month, with the duo posing for a selfie together.
Jamie Redknapp and Frida Andersson
Good friends: Former footballer Jamie Redknapp and his wife Frida Andersson, 38, are so close with David, they have even holidayed together
Former footballer Jamie Redknapp and his wife Frida Andersson, 38, are so close with David, they have even holidayed together.
Last July, the trio shared snaps from their sunny destination with David uploading a snap with Jamie, 50, with the caption: ‘Honeymoon’.
Fans made references to his friendship with Cowell, with one joking: ‘Are you cheating on Simon?’
Jamie and Frida were amongst the star-studded guestlist at his party earlier this month.
Robbie Williams, BGT host Ant McPartlin and Aaron Taylor-Johnson
All smiles: Ant McPartlin, 47, continued to show his support to David in the wake of his BGT controversy by attending his birthday alongside Robbie Williams
Famous faces: Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 33, was also at the bash. The duo have been seen mixing in the same showbiz circle (pictured with Robbie)
Ant McPartlin, 47, continued to show his support to David in the wake of his BGT controversy by attending his birthday.
The television host was joined by Robbie Williams, who is also friends with Simon Cowell.
The singer said he was previously ‘terrified’ of the music mogul back in the nineties after he refused to sign Take That.
Robbie said previously: ‘I first met him in 1993 at the BMG offices, Take That had just been signed to BMG and Simon had a little office in the corner. He was an incredibly interesting guy who I was scared of. He had a chance to sign Take That and he passed on it.’
Actor Aaron Taylor-Johnson, 33, was also at the bash. The duo have been seen mixing in the same showbiz circle.
In August, they both holidayed in St Tropez on Elton John’s superyacht.
David has also been friends with Aaron’s wife, Sam, 56, for many years.
Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan
Comics: Rob Brydon, 58, and Steve Coogan, 57, are also counted among David’s friends
Rob Brydon, 58, and Steve Coogan, 57, are also counted among David’s friends.
The trio filmed Cruise of the Gods back in 2002, a comedy-drama film made for the BBC. It also starred James Corden.
Simon Cowell friendship ‘on the rocks’
He’s off! The comedian (pictured in 2012) is set to leave the ITV show ahead of its 2023 series, weeks after he was forced to apologise for describing an elderly contestant as a ‘c***’
Walliams was axed from the show after makin vile remarks about contestants, including one female competitor. Comedian Clare Harrison McCartney (pictured) claimed she was the subject of the these remarks, although this has been denied by BGT producers
Distance is said to have grown between Simon and David as he seeks significant damages from London-based Fremantle, which produces the reality series for ITV.
Legal paperwork suggests he is accusing bosses of leaking details of his rude comments to a newspaper.
Court papers lodged at the High Court in London last Thursday, accuse the firm of data protection breach over the leaked transcript which prompted a swift end to ten year long stint as a judge on the show.
Walliams, who is worth around £17million, quit the show last November, two weeks after he was caught calling an elderly contestant a ‘c***’ during a break in filming.
He 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 Walliams a ‘sad misogynist’, but producers on the show denied the remarks were aimed at her.
Bruno later took over from him on the talent show, signing a big money deal.
A source told The Sun about David’s decision to leave at the time: ‘He hasn’t taken the decision lightly, but it just feels like time to move on.’
‘David has decided to bow out after a ten-year run. He wants to leave on a high after a wonderful time.
‘His team have quietly been having conversations over the past few days where it has been made clear that David is readying himself to step down – and then producers will start to think about who might replace him.’
The star has hired legal company Brandsmiths, who specialise in data protection breaches.
Reports earlier this year claimed that Walliams quit BGT after the lewd and rude comments which he made during filming the show at the London Palladium in 2020 were exposed.
However, sources at the time suggested that he was actually pushed after a crisis management team was drafted in by Fremantle to manage the scandal which led to the former Little Britain comic apologising.
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.
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.’
Replacement: Bruno later took over from him on the talent show, signing a big money deal
A comedian and impressionist who appeared on the show in 2020 claimed the remarks made by Walliams were about her.
Clare Harrison Mccartney initially retweeted criticism of Walliams, but then posted on Twitter: ‘Those comments from #DavidWalliams were about me in this audition. I certainly wasn’t putting out f-me vibes to David Walliams, that’s in his mind. What a misogynist thinking all women fancy him.’
She added: ‘As if I didn’t feel low enough after that audition and he’s implying I fancied him – don’t flatter yourself Walliams. I only went on BGT to try for a better life because I’m skint in a council flat, you sad misogynist.’
It is not clear how Ms Harrison Mccartney would have known she was the target of the remarks, and a spokeswoman for Fremantle UK denied they were about her.
After the transcript was released a source at Britain’s Got Talent told the Mail it ‘could not have come at a worse time’ for Walliams as his deal to return to the show had not been finalised.
They added: ‘David’s remarks have now become a huge part of the conversation.
‘He hasn’t signed any deal yet which has come as a relief because now there are options.
‘It is a family show and this isn’t just a negative thing to happen, it is offensive to people.’
Walliams, one of the UK’s best-known television personalities and children’s book authors, was forced to apologise for his outbursts – but insisted that they were private conversations.
In a statement given to the Guardian after the transcripts were revealed, 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.’
However, it was confirmed weeks later that he would not be returning to the show.
ITV said at the time that it did not ‘condone’ the language used and had spoken to producers of BGT.
Walliams, who joined the talent show in 2012 and scooped three Best Judge honours at the National TV Awards, was later replaced by former Strictly judge Bruno Tonioli.
Fremantle declined to comment.
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