Noel Clarke seeks £10m damages over ‘false’ Guardian articleson July 19, 2023 at 2:54 am

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The actor is suing for defamation over articles accusing him of misconduct towards several women.

Noel ClarkeImage source, PA Media

Noel Clarke is seeking approximately £10m damages from the Guardian over articles about his alleged behaviour towards several women, according to court documents seen by BBC News.

In the eight articles, 20 women who had worked with Mr Clarke over a 15-year period make misconduct allegations.

The actor and producer, who denies the allegations, says the articles have had a “catastrophic” effect on his career.

Should he win his case, a judge will decide what damages he is entitled to.

Damages claim

According to documents lodged at London’s High Court as part of a defamation claim against the Guardian, as well as claiming for general damages which cover harm to reputation, Mr Clarke is seeking special damages which cover specific financial losses.

Mr Clarke’s claim says “the impact on him financially has been devastating”.

The claim adds that as well as “every existing or upcoming contract” being cancelled, Mr Clarke has “not had one single work contract” since the first Guardian article about him was published in April 2021.

Specific financial losses claimed by Noel Clarke

Sky TV show Bulletproof, series 4

  • His fee for acting in 10 episodes – £585,000
  • His fee for writing two episodes – £90,000
  • His fee for directing two episodes – £90,000
  • Anticipated royalties – £250,000 (estimated figure)

ITV TV show Viewpoint, series 2

  • His fee – £270,000
  • Anticipated royalties – £200,000 (estimated figure)

Channel 5 TV show Highwater (a greenlit show which he says would probably have begun shooting in winter 2021)

  • His producer bonus – in the region of £60,000

BBC TV show Crongton (a greenlit show which he says was likely to be shot around late summer 2022)

  • His producer bonus – in the region of £60,000

StudioCanal movie Something in the Water

  • His producer bonus – in the region of £40,000

Former production company Unstoppable

  • Minimum salary over 10 years – £1.25m (not including any potential raises or bonuses)
  • Projected approximate value of shares, which he says has now been “wiped out”, over next three years – £7m

Legal fees on dealing with Guardian allegations when first published, involving two law firms

  • Approximately £245,000

The total approximate figure, excluding VAT, comes to

  • £10,140,000.60

Mr Clarke is also claiming aggravated damages, for what his lawyers describe as the “relentless, targeted, vicious and persistent nature of the wholly unjustified defamatory campaign” launched against him by the Guardian.

The next significant stage due in the case is a hearing at the High Court to determine the exact meaning of the articles, whether they are defamatory and whether they are statements of fact or opinion.

This was scheduled to take place this week on Thursday 20 July. But the court has been told that Mr Clarke wishes to instruct new solicitors.

High Court judge Mrs Justice Steyn has now made an order that in order to give Mr Clarke the time to do this, the hearing has been rescheduled to take place in October or early November 2023.

London's High Court

Image source, PA Media

The Guardian does not yet appear to have filed an official defence with the court, but Mr Clarke’s legal team assert in court papers that “it appears from the pre-action correspondence” that the Guardian appears “to be intent on robustly defending” the case.

According to an order made in May by Mr Justice Murray, the Guardian is not required to submit its defence to the court before the result of the autumn hearing is known.

The legal papers in the case have only recently been obtained by BBC News. The majority should have been made publicly available more than six months ago.

The BBC has been told that that the relevant Government department is investigating to see what went wrong, and is improving processes to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

The allegations against Mr Clarke were first published by the Guardian in 2021.

As a result, Bafta suspended his membership as well as the Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema award that he had been presented with days earlier.

The Metropolitan Police said in March 2022 there was not enough evidence against him to warrant a criminal investigation.

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