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Ed Westwick replaced in BBC drama after sexual assault allegations

Gossip Girl’s Ed Westwick has been replaced by Christian Cooke on BBC’s Ordeal By Innocence.

tv Updated: Jan 09, 2018 12:35 IST
The Guardian
The Guardian
The Guardian
Ed Westwick,Christian Cooke,Ordeal by Innocence
The BBC pulled an Agatha Christie adaptation from its television schedule and halted production on a second sitcom starring Ed Westwick. Los Angeles police are investigating. He denies the allegations.(Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

The makers of new BBC drama Ordeal by Innocence have replaced an actor after he was accused of sexual assault and will reshoot the scenes that he was in.

Christian Cooke will replace Ed Westwick as Mickey Argyll in the programme, which is based on a novel by Agatha Christie and was due to be one of the BBC’s main Christmas shows.

Westwick, who starred in US series Gossip Girl, has been accused of sexual assault by three women . He denies the allegations, but the BBC pulled Ordeal by Innocence from its Christmas schedule after the claims emerged .

The recasting of Westwick mirrors the changes made to Sir Ridley Scott’s new Hollywood film All the Money in the World after serious allegations emerged against Kevin Spacey. Scott, the film’s director, replaced Spacey with Christopher Plummer weeks before it was due to be released.

Christian Cooke will replace Ed Westwick in the BBC drama, Ordeal by Innocence.

The BBC said before Christmas that it was not making any judgment on the “serious allegations” against Westwick but would remove Ordeal by Innocence from its schedule “until these matters are resolved”.

Following the first claim of assault against Westwick, in which an actor said he had raped her, Westwick wrote on Twitter: “I do not know this woman. I have never forced myself in any manner, on any woman. I certainly have never committed rape.”

Ed Westwick and the rest of the cast of Ordeal By Innocence.

He later added: “It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified and probably untrue social media claims, there are some in this environment who could ever conclude I have had anything to do with such vile and horrific conduct. I have absolutely not, and I am cooperating with the authorities so that they can clear my name as soon as possible.”

A new broadcast date for the three-part series is yet to be confirmed. Filming on White Gold, a BBC2 comedy series starring Westwick, has also been halted following the allegations against him.

Cooke has previously appeared in ITV drama Where the Heart is, Cemetery Junction, a film written by Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, and Channel 4 mini-series The Promise.

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First Published: Jan 05, 2018 19:34 IST