‘I will miss you dearly’: Alesha Dixon pays tribute to David Walliams after he was axed from Britain’s Got Talent and replaced with Bruno Tonioli
The judge, 44, took to her Instagram Stories on Wednesday to thank him for a decade on the show after filming kicked off for the new 2023 series.
David, 51, has been replaced on the judging panel by Bruno Tonioli, after the comedian was forced to apologise for describing an elderly contestant as a ‘c***’ and making vile sexual remarks about a woman taking part.
‘I love you’: Alesha Dixon has paid tribute to David Walliams after he was axed from Britain’s Got Talent
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Alesha shared a photo of her and David and wrote alongside it: ‘Thank you @dwalliams for 10 amazing years on @bgt.
She added: ‘I love you very much and will miss you dearly.’
David’s future on BGT was in doubt after he described an elderly contestant as a c*** and made vile sexual remarks about a female who was also competing on the show.
The comments, made in January 2020 during auditions at the London Palladium, were picked up on the programme’s microphones and revealed earlier this month.
Replaced: David, 51, has been replaced on the judging panel by Bruno Tonioli (pictured), after the comedian was forced to apologise for describing an elderly contestant as a ‘c***’ and making vile sexual remarks about a woman taking part
In one incident, picked up on the show’s microphones, 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.’
Revelation: The comments, made in January 2020 during auditions at the London Palladium, were picked up on the programme’s microphones and revealed earlier this month
Sources close to BGT said that David’s return was ‘very much under threat’ and he was ‘under the microscope’, with some senior staff saying that he should be immediately axed.
One source said: ‘This could not have come at a worse time in terms of his return to BGT, the discussions are going on right now so 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.
‘It has left David in a very precarious position. There are some people involved in the show who point blank don’t want him back, there is a danger of this incident becoming part of the BGT narrative and nobody wants that. It’s a lovely show that brings so much joy.
‘Some are saying that David’s return is now highly unlikely.’
In a statement to The Guardian, the Little Britain star 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.’
Speaking out: In a statement, David 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
A spokesman for 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.’
Meanwhile, sources at the London-based production company Thames said that they have provided enhanced training and education for BGT judges about their language and enhanced respect for contestants.
A spokesman 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.’
Conduct: Meanwhile, sources at the London-based production company Thames said that they have provided enhanced training and education for BGT judges