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Graham Linehan claims he was ‘dropped by his agent’ after attacking David Tennant

Graham Linehan has claimed he was dropped by his agent after criticising David Tennant for supporting transgender rights in the latest row involving the writer.

On Sunday (1 October), Linehan appeared on a fringe panel event at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, where he declared himself “the most cancelled person in this room”.

The Father Ted creator, who was represented by Independent Talent, has faced significant backlash in recent years for comments he has made in opposition to trans rights. He was permanently banned from Twitter/X in 2020, but reintroduced late last year following Elon Musk’s takeover.

Speaking during the talk, which was titled “Is the UK a safe space for free speech?”, Linehan said that he found it “very hard to find places to speak these days” due to criticism over his views on gender.

“I guess the other interesting thing that happened to me is I just lost my TV agent because I criticised David Tennant,” Linehan told the crowd.

In July, the Irish writer branded Tennant “disgusting, ignorant, reckless” after the Doctor Who star wore a t-shirt emblazoned with the words: “Leave trans kids alone you absolute freaks”.

Tennant did not respond to Linehan’s comments at the time, but has previously spoken about the importance of “fighting the fight” for LGBT+ rights.

Linehan was reinstated on Twitter late last year after he was banned in 2020 (PA)
Linehan was reinstated on Twitter late last year after he was banned in 2020 (PA)

Expanding on the claims he was dropped by Independent Talent, Black Books writer Linehan told the audience at the panel: “I only found this out later because I looked at the list of people Independent Talent represented.

“David Tennant was at the top, and he’s making slightly more money than me at the moment, so I had to go.”

The Independent has contacted Independent Talent and Tennant’s representatives for comment.

Last October, it was revealed that the number of transphobic hate crimes in the UK had risen by 56 per cent compared to the previous year, with a Home Office report linking the increase to discussion on social media.

During Pride month in June, Tennant spoke about the importance of supporting LGBT+ causes at a time “when the world seems to be getting, in some corners, worryingly intolerant and weirdly backward”.

“We can’t take our foot off the gas,” he said, while appearing on Ed Miliband’s Reasons to be Cheerful podcast. “We can’t expect that we will always travel in the right direction towards acceptance. We’ve all got to be fighting that fight every day.”

Tennant has repeatedly shown support for the LGBT+ community (PA)
Tennant has repeatedly shown support for the LGBT+ community (PA)

The event Linehan was speaking at on Sunday was hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs and the TaxPayers’ Alliance, with the comedy writer joined by four other panellists on stage.

Last month, Linehan had claimed that he was initially denied a pass to the Tory party conference, before the party chairman stepped in and allowed him to attend.

Linehan will later this month release his memoir Tough Crowd: How I Made and Lost a Career in Comedy about his fall from grace from “an industry where there was no one to stand by his side when he needed help”.

The book has already sparked debate online after Richard Ayoade, who starred in Linehan’s comedy The IT Crowd, provided an endorsement used in the online marketing of Tough Crowd.

Ayoade’s quote reads: “Graham Linehan has long been one of my favourite writers – and this book shows that his brilliance in prose is equal to his brilliance as a screenwriter.

“It unfolds with the urgency of a Sam Fuller film: that of a man who has been through something that few have experienced but has managed to return, undaunted, to tell us the tale.”