‘Read the room’: BBC criticised for David Walliams’ Comic Relief joke after Britain’s Got Talent scandal

David Walliams was among those vying for Britain’s spot at the next Eurovision Song Contest in a comedy sketch for the BBC’s Comic Relief broadcast.

After performing “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor in a tight leather suit, judges Graham Norton, Lulu and Sam Ryder declared that Walliams had failed to secure the gig.

Upon hearing their verdict, the comedy actor approached the judge’s table and placed a gold, Britain’s Got Talent buzzer on it.

“Well, you might not have liked it but I loved it,” Walliams said, hitting the buzzer, prompting a stream of confetti to fall around him. “Yes! I’m through to the live Eurovision final!” he declared.

“He’s not even on that show anymore,” a bemused Norton said.

It was an odd choice for the sketch considering Walliams was so recently replaced on the ITV talent show after a leaked set recording from 2020 heard the actor and author making sexually explicit comments about acontestant.

David Walliams on Comic Relief (BBC)
David Walliams on Comic Relief (BBC)

A transcript obtained by The Guardian allegedly 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.”

The Independent has contacted the BBC for comment.

Viewers picked up on the moment on Twitter. “#RedNoseDay no ‘cause why was David Walliams in it?? Read the room besties,” wrote one on Twitter.

“When David Walliams finishes his audition we should all whisper obscenities about him to each other,” said another alluding to the scandal.

“David Walliams, ex-BGT judge on #ComicRelief,” another pointed out.

Britain’s Got Talent announced former Strictly Come Dancing judge Bruno Tonioli as Walliams’s replacement in January this year.

“I am thrilled to be here. Look at these girls [Holden and Dixon], they’re stunning and it’s my old friend Simon [Cowell]. What an honour it is to work with you finally. He’s teased me with this for years, years and years and years. I tell you honestly I’m thrilled to be here and very, very nervous,” Tonioli told the crowd on his first day of filming.