From terrifying fire stunts and unsuitable language, to a judge pressing the Golden Buzzer halfway through an audition, there were many shocking moments in Britain's Got Talent 2023, which crowned its winner Viggo Venn in the final back in June.


But perhaps the biggest talking point was the absence of judge David Walliams, with Strictly Come Dancing's Bruno Tonioli taking his place.

Walliams had been on the panel for over a decade after joining the ITV show in 2012.

So just why is Walliams no longer a judge on Britain's Got Talent alongside Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and Amanda Holden? Read on for a full rundown.

Why did David Walliams leave Britain's Got Talent? Comments explained

Britain's Got Talent judges 2018: David Walliams
David Walliams on Britain's Got Talent. Syco/Thames/ITV

While David Walliams had been on the Britain's Got Talent panel since 2012, it was confirmed that he would not be back for this year's episodes.

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The popular comedian hit the headlines last year after "inappropriate" remarks he had made about contestants came to light.

In November 2022, The Guardian reported that Walliams had referred to one Britain's Got Talent contestant as a "c**t" and said about another, "she thinks you want to f**k her, but you don't", during breaks in filming Britain's Got Talent's 2020 season.

Walliams apologised for the "disrespectful comments" in a statement to, saying: "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."

At the time, a spokesperson for BGT's production company Thames said that the language used was "inappropriate" and that "those involved have been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities and the show's expectations as to future professional conduct", while Simon Cowell added: "Britain's Got Talent is a family show and we do not condone the use of any such language."

While Walliams never officially announced his departure from Britain's Got Talent, The Sun reported later that month that the comedian was set to quit the show and would not be featuring in the new season – however, a source told that no decision had been made on the judging panel at that time.

In January 2023, ITV confirmed that David Walliams would not be returning to Britain's Got Talent by announcing the new judging panel, consisting of Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon, Amanda Holden and new face Bruno Tonioli.

After the comments were published by The Guardian, Walliams sued Fremantle for misuse of private information and for breaching data laws, and on Monday 27th November, it was reported that Walliams had reached a settlement with Fremantle.

A Fremantle spokesperson told the PA News agency: "We are pleased that we have achieved an amicable resolution of this dispute with David.

"We are sincerely sorry that his private conversations when a judge on Britain's Got Talent were published, and the great distress this caused David.

"We have reviewed our production practices on the show to ensure they fully respect the expectations of our talent whilst satisfying the requirements of the show."

It continued: "We have enjoyed a great relationship with David over many years.

"We thank David for being an important part of the Britain's Got Talent family and the enduring success of the show and hope to have opportunities to work with him in the future."

Who has replaced David Walliams on Britain's Got Talent?

Bruno Tonioli for Britain's Got Talent.
Bruno Tonioli for Britain's Got Talent. ITV

In January this year, ITV revealed that Strictly Come Dancing's Bruno Tonioli would be replacing David Walliams on Britain's Got Talent.

The entertainer and dancer said in a statement: "Here we are, Britain’s Got Talent. I am so excited. It’s my first show, I have no idea what’s going to happen, but I’m sure it’s going to be brilliant."

The Italian choreographer is best known for judging Strictly Come Dancing (2004-2019) and Dancing with the Stars in the US, having previously choreographed music videos and stage shows for the likes of Tina Turner, Sir Elton John, Boy George and others.

Speaking of Tonioli's new role, former Strictly star Gethin Jones said that he thought the ex-judge would "absolutely" do well on the show.

"He's an entertainer by trade. That's what he does. So they're just going to have to try and stop him from getting up and singing himself."

Britain's Got Talent returns to ITV1 in 2024. Check out more of our Entertainment coverage or visit our TV Guide and Streaming Guide to find out what else is on.


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