The BBC pulled part of its funding from a David Walliams project after his X-rated comments on Britain’s Got Talent, High Court documents claim.
The comedian alleges the corporation withdrew cash for an animation series of his book Gangsta Granny due to “negative publicity”.
The claim forms part of the star’s £10million legal battle with the show’s production company Fremantle.
Walliams, 52, left the ITV show in November after explicit off-screen remarks about contestants leaked. He says he was unaware they may have been recorded and transcribed, and that Fremantle broke data-protection rules. But sources say that in April 2018, the show announced all cameras “would now be rolling 24/7”. The BBC has adapted seven of the star’s children’s books.
The most recent was December’s Gangsta Granny Strikes Again, starring Walliams, Sheridan Smith, Kevin Bishop and Griff Rhys Jones. The series was able to secure extra funding on top of the BBC’s initial contribution which predated the row. BBC sources declined to say whether it would be commissioned or not. But insiders close to Walliams insist the series is going into production soon and will be seen on the Beeb.
“David remains the best-selling children’s author in the UK and the animation is progressing as expected,” they said.
According to documents filed by Walliams’s lawyer, other non-BBC adaptations have been scrapped.
Documents say “schools, libraries and shops have removed his books” hitting sales. Fremantle has said it hoped to “resolve the matter amicably” but if needed would “robustly defend” itself.
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