‘It’s not the mafia’: Amanda Holden denies influencing David Walliams’ Britain’s Got Talent exit

Amanda Holden has finally commented on David Walliams’s unceremonious exit from Britain’s Got Talent.

Walliams was replaced on the ITV talent show earlier this year after a leaked set recording from 2020 heard the actor and author making sexually explicit comments about a contestant.

Holden – who has been a judge on the show since 2007 – was asked whether she had a hand in Walliams’s decision to step down in a new interview with The Times.

“It’s not the mafia we work for. Oh my God, no!” the 52-year-old presenter responded. “He decided to step away. [Fellow BGT judge] Alesha [Dixon] and I are having dinner with him in two weeks and he’s very happy writing. It was just… time to step back.”

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli was announced as Walliams’s replacement in January this year.

Asked whether Walliams’s offending statements “merely reflect what most judges are really thinking”, Holden responded: “No, I don’t think so. I personally never forget how nerve-racking it is to audition.

Amanda Holden and David Walliams in 2019 (Getty Images)
Amanda Holden and David Walliams in 2019 (Getty Images)

“It’s terrifying. And also, we all have kids and that’s important. Since Simon [Cowell] had Eric [his nine-year-old son] he has more empathy. I think he imagines it could be Eric up there.”

A transcript obtained by The Guardian in November last year reportedly revealed that Walliams, 51, described a woman as being like “the slightly boring girl you meet in the pub that thinks you want to f*** them, but you don’t”.

Walliams apologised at the time, telling The Independent: “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.”

Holden previously defended the embattled comedian, saying she was “team David” when asked about a potential shake-up to the judging panel last year.

The BBC recently faced criticism for airing a Comic Relief sketch in which Walliams joked about his BGT career.

Britain’s Got Talent will return to ITV this Spring.