David Walliams reveals Simon Cowell isn’t in the Britain’s Got Talent WhatsApp group – but Ashley Banjo is

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Britain’s Got Talent may have been postponed this year, but judge David Walliams, 49, has plenty to keep him occupied. The comic is busy writing the next in his line of popular children’s stories, has musical and movie adaptations of his books in the works, and has been filming several TV shows, too. It marks another successful year for the man who burst onto our TV screens alongside Matt Lucas in Little Britain in the early noughties.

When he’s not capturing the imaginations of the nation’s children, David tells us he loves nothing more than reading with his own son, Alfred, seven, who he shares with ex-wife Lara Stone.

Here, David tells OK! his favourite things about fatherhood, discusses his latest charity project and explains why his mum won’t be baking for Simon Cowell again…

Hi David, how have you found this year?

I’ve just been trying to be in the moment and not think about the future. And the moment for me was spending time with my son and homeschooling. And we managed to video call my mum every day, which was good.

What are you looking forward to when things open up?

I miss having something to put a suit on for. I like getting dressed up and going out for dinner. I’ve got a date in the diary though, I’m taking Mum to the ballet!

How did you cope with homeschooling?

I didn’t find it stressful, it was just like going back to school and sitting in the classroom as if you’re seven again! I actually liked it in a lot of ways. It’s quite a bonding experience.

What’s your favourite thing about fatherhood?

Making my child laugh and making him happy. He likes to make jokes and make people laugh as well now too. It’s also lovely spending time reading together. Books lead to conversations about things. So that’s something we’ve had more time to do this year, which I’ve really enjoyed.

What do you read together?

Not my own books! I feel like otherwise one day he’ll be in therapy saying, “My dad made me read his own books.” So I let my son decide, but lots of Roald Dahl, which I love reading too.

What made you want to get involved in the campaign with McCain and Family Fund?

Firstly, I love oven chips! When you become a parent you definitely need to have oven chips in your freezer at all times. Then the fact McCain is pledging to support Family Fund, a charity that helps disabled and seriously ill children, and support its goal to provide 150,000 families with vital and essential items to help them come together as a family – especially at mealtimes. It’s a great idea when a big company gets so involved with a charity like Family Fund. It’s how you want the world to be – big companies trying to help charities and give back.

What are your favourite family moments?

I love going over to my mum’s house and her bringing out her homemade Victoria sponge cake. She once made one for Simon Cowell. He couldn’t help judging it and was like, “Not enough jam.” My mum was quite offended and said she was never going to make him a cake again!

Were you disappointed that Britain’s Got Talent isn’t going ahead this year?

It’s sad, but it’s hard when there are groups like choirs or dance acts with lots of people in them. How would you keep everyone safe? BGT has hundreds of people, we couldn’t all have isolated together.

Do you have a BGT judges’ WhatsApp group to stay in touch?

Yes, but Simon isn’t in it. Simon doesn’t have a mobile phone, but Amanda, Alesha and I talk on it a lot and share pictures and jokes. We really liked Ashley Banjo, who stepped in to do the live shows last year, so he’s on there now, too. We loved him and he’s become a good friend.

How do you keep in touch with Simon if he doesn’t have a phone?

I communicate with him through Lauren Silverman, his partner. She sends me pictures of their son Eric and I send her pictures of my son. Simon isn’t one for calling you up for a chit-chat. But Lauren is really good at that, she’s a lovely lady.

Do you have anything else coming up this year?

Lots of books! I’m also working on anew musical of one of my books, as well as TV and film versions. I’ve been filming a programme called Sandylands, and I’ve also been filming After Ever After on Sky with Sheridan Smith. So there are things to come!

David Walliams is supporting McCain and Family Fund through a new animated series of stories airing on Sky Media featuring children who have been helped by Family Fund, called Teatime Tales, which he has written and narrated. For more information on the partnership and to donate, visit mccainfamilyfund.co.uk

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