Noel Clarke: ITV drops drama Viewpoint finale after allegations - BBC News

image copyright ITV

image caption Noel Clarke played a surveillance detective in Viewpoint, which has been on ITV every night this week

ITV has decided to pull the final episode of the drama Viewpoint after allegations of sexual harassment were made against its star, Noel Clarke.

The broadcaster said it was "no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode" on Friday as planned.

Sky has also "halted" its work with Clarke, including on the fourth series of crime drama Bulletproof.

The Kidulthood and Doctor Who star, 45, has said he "vehemently" denies "any sexual misconduct or wrongdoing".

In a statement on Thursday, he said he intended to "defend myself against these false allegations".

The Guardian newspaper reported allegations from 20 women, all of whom knew Clarke in a professional capacity, on Thursday.

On Friday, ITV said it had "a zero tolerance policy to bullying, harassment and victimisation".

"We strongly believe that everyone deserves to work in a supportive and safe environment," it added.

"In light of the very serious nature of the allegations against Noel Clarke raised by 20 women in the Guardian's report, ITV has decided it is no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode of the drama Viewpoint on ITV main channel this evening."

However, the finale will be available on its streaming service ITV Hub from Friday night for a limited time "for any viewers who wish to seek it out, and watch its conclusion".

image copyright Sky

image caption Clarke has starred in three series of Sky drama Bulletproof

Clarke played a surveillance detective in the show, which has been on ITV every evening this week. It was watched by 3.5 million people on Thursday.

He is also known for his role in Bulletproof, which Sky commissioned for a fourth series in January.

But following the allegations, Sky said: "Effective immediately, we have halted Noel Clarke's involvement in any future Sky productions."

The broadcaster said it had not received any reports of sexual misconduct or harassment during or since the show's production. "Sky stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously," it added.

Bulletproof's production company Vertigo Films also said: "Effective immediately, Noel Clarke is removed from any Vertigo Films production."

A spokesperson for the company said it had "launched an urgent investigation to find out if any [alleged incidents] apply to any Vertigo Films productions", but that "no issues have been flagged to us".

image copyright Getty Images

image caption He said he had "never had a complaint made against me" in 20 years

Fellow Bulletproof actor Ashley Walters responded to the allegations against his co-star by saying he was "in shock and deeply saddened by what I have heard on a multitude of levels".

He said he "could never condone behaviour of this nature" and while "Noel has been a friend and a colleague for several years, I cannot stand by and ignore these allegations".

He added: "Sexual harassment, abuse and bullying have no place in our industry."

In his statement on Thursday, Clarke added: "In a 20-year career, I have put inclusivity and diversity at the forefront of my work and never had a complaint made against me.

"If anyone who has worked with me has ever felt uncomfortable or disrespected, I sincerely apologise."

Bafta defends award

Clarke has also been suspended by Bafta, weeks after he received one of the British film and TV academy's top awards. He was given the outstanding British contribution to cinema prize at a ceremony on 10 April.

In a letter sent to its members on Friday, Bafta defended its decision to go ahead with the presentation despite having received emails about Clarke's behaviour before the ceremony.

"These were either anonymous or second or third-hand accounts via intermediaries," it said. "No first-hand allegations were sent to us. No names, times, dates, productions or other details were ever provided.

"Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately. Noel Clarke's counsel received a legal notice to this effect. It was always very clear what our intentions would be."

image copyright PA Media

image caption Clarke won his first Bafta for Rising Star in 2009

The organisation described the allegations as "extremely serious" and said the alleged behaviour was "contrary to Bafta's values and everything it stands for".

"We completely understand why the individuals were extremely fearful to identify themselves to us, and we recognise how hard it is for victims to speak up," it said. But Bafta added that it was "an arts charity that is not in a position to properly investigate such matters".

Actor, writer and director Michaela Coel was among those praising the women who spoke out in the Guardian, and the journalists for their investigation.

"Speaking out about these incidents takes a lot of strength," she wrote on Friday.

Meanwhile, production company All3Media, which backs Clarke's own company Unstoppable Film and TV, said: "We take allegations of this kind extremely seriously and are looking into this as a matter of urgency."

'Damning indictment'

Paul Fleming, general secretary of arts union Equity, said it had been "a difficult day for those who run the industry".

"It's a phenomenally embarrassing and traumatic 24 hours if you're a gatekeeper and in charge of what goes on in our members' workplace," he told BBC Radio 4's PM Programme.

"It really does take something to be here, [the] best part of four years on from #MeToo and still be asking these questions.

"And for big bosses, big producers to have not put in place the polices practises and cultures in workplaces that allow these things to be considered credible…

"This is a really, really damning indictment of how intimidating some workplaces and some producers are for our members to raise concerns."

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