David Walliams
The comedian joined as a judge on the hit ITV series 'Britain's Got Talent' in 2012 and remained as a permanent panellist for a decade. Henry Nicholls/Reuters

One of Britain's best-known comedians, David Walliams, has filed a High Court case against FremantleMedia, the production company behind the popular ITV series 'Britain's Got Talent' (BGT) following his sudden exit in January due to leaked comments he made about contestants.

The 52-year-old comedian and children's author joined as a judge on GBT back in 2012 and would remain as a permanent panellist for a decade.

Last year, a leaked transcript from behind-the-scenes of GBT showed that Walliams had made several sexually explicit and derogatory remarks about contestants, whilst he was also heard disparaging a female contestant during the recording of an episode in January 2020.

It was only November last year when the comedian admitted to and apologised for making the "disrespectful comments" about two contestants during a shoot in 2020.

Microphones used primarily to record discussions between the judges picked up the comments.

In a statement at the time, Walliams, embroiled in controversy, added that the dialogue from the transcripts "were private conversations and — like most conversations with friends — were never intended to be shared. Nevertheless, I am sorry".

Thames TV, the production company that is part of FremantleMedia, said that the company regarded Walliams' comments as private, but his language was deemed "inappropriate".

Lawyers for Walliams and Thames TV added that these comments were part of a private conversation that was never intended to be broadcast.

In their own statement after the incident, Thames TV said: "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."

ITV Studios also issued their own statement, saying: "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," they continued.

Consequently, Walliams left the show last November, being quickly replaced by former Strictly Come Dancing judge, Bruno Tonioli, who joined the judging panel alongside Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden and Alesha Dixon.

Incidentally, Cowell, who is also one of the show's producers, broke his silence regarding Walliams' exit in April, stating that he "didn't really get involved in the decision".

He continued: "From what I understand, he decided to take a step back. It all happened relatively quickly. I was on holiday and then the next thing is I'm having conversations about who's going to take his place."

Now, the comedian is seeking significant compensation from FremantleMedia, with legal paperwork suggesting that he is accusing the company's bosses of leaking his rude and sexually explicit comments to newspapers.

The case has been listed not just under the comedian's real name, David Edward Williams, but also as dealing with data protection. However, no further details have been disclosed at this time.

To prepare for the proceedings, the comedian has hired an intellectual property law company, Brandsmiths, which specialises in breaches of data protection.

As of yet, FremantleMedia has declined to comment on the lawsuit.