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Tuesday 25th February 2020

BBC axes Christmas drama following rape allegations against one of lead actors

Boxing Day schedule now in chaos

The BBC has apparently succumbed to mounting pressure to dump a drama starring actor Ed Westwick from its Christmas schedule.

Ed Westwick has been accused of sexual assault (Credit: Flynet)

Ordeal By Innocence, an adaptation of the Agatha Christie thriller, stars the Hollywood actor, best known for his role as Chuck in US hit Gossip Girl.

Last week he was publicly accused of rape.

American actress, Kristina Cohen, claimed in a Facebook post that the British-born star attacked her in his LA home in 2014.

She says she woke from a nap to find him on top of her.

Westwick, 30, vehemently denied her allegations in a Twitter post, writing: “I do not know this woman.

“I have never forced myself in any manner, on any woman. I certainly have never committed rape.”

Read more: Hollywood actor issues statement following allegations of sexual impropriety

Police in Los Angeles said on Thursday they are investigating a sexual assault report filed against Westwick.

A second woman, former actress Aurélie Wynn, came forward shortly after with an allegation of assault, also in 2014.

The BBC is not making any judgment but until these matters are resolved we will not include Ordeal by Innocence in the schedules.

Westwick responded to this on social media, saying: “It is disheartening and sad to me that as a result of two unverified and provably 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."

The BBC has now announced that it is removing Ordeal By Innocence - which also stars Bill Nighy and Eleanor Tomlinson - from its Boxing Day slot, 
postponing transmission while Westwick is under investigation.

Its statement read: “These are serious allegations which Ed Westwick has strenuously denied. The BBC is not making any judgment but until these matters are resolved we will not include Ordeal by Innocence in the schedules.

Agatha Christie's Ordeal By Innocence was due to air on Boxing Day (Credit: BBC)

Read more: National treasure devastated after being dropped by the BBC

The network also confirmed that Westwick has halted filming on the second series of BBC Two comedy series, White Gold.

Westwick [left] has paused filming for the second series of White Gold (Credit: BBC)

A spokesperson explained: "The independent production company making White Gold has informed us that Ed Westwick has paused from filming while he deals with these allegations."