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Friday, 20 September, 2002, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
ITV dumps Barrymore
Michael Barrymore
Barrymore was once one of the UK's most popular TV stars
ITV has confirmed it will not be commissioning any new shows from entertainer Michael Barrymore, after an inquest into the death of a partygoer at his house.

The network, which had previously refused to make a decision on the once popular star, decided that after recent events he could no longer be considered a family entertainer.

"We have consistently maintained that a final decision regarding Michael Barrymore's future with the channel would be made following the inquest into the death of Stuart Lubbock," said an ITV spokeswoman.

"We have reviewed the position again and can confirm that ITV has no plans to commission any new programmes featuring Michael Barrymore."

The coroner recorded an open verdict into the death of Stuart Lubbock, 31
The cause of Mr Lubbock's death has not been established

The entertainer is out of the country, but Barrymore's solicitor, David Corker, was told of the decision at lunchtime on Friday.

"In light of the continued unrelenting hostile media portrayals of Mr Barrymore since the inquest, it is unsurprising for ITV to have reached this decision," he said.

"Mr Barrymore has been made aware of the decision. He accepts it and agrees that ITV had no choice, taking into account the hostile media climate."

Barrymore, the former presenter of ITV entertainment shows Kids Say the Funniest Things and My Kind of Music, was voted the UK's favourite TV star several times.

His future career has been clouded by the death of Stuart Lubbock, 31, after he was found unconscious in Barrymore's swimming pool at his home in Roydon, Essex in March last year.

A week-long inquest into the death of Mr Lubbock recorded an open verdict.

A post-mortem examination revealed high levels of alcohol and drugs in his system and injuries which may have been caused by a serious sexual assault.

Police are currently investigating claims that Barrymore lied during the inquest into Mr Lubbock's death.

Last week, BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey said she thought Barrymore would find it difficult to rebuild his career.

"I'm not sure that viewers would accept him," Heggessey commented.

Series pulled

BBC Worldwide has indefinitely shelved plans to publish his autobiography, commissioned in October 2000.

ITV had previously stuck by the presenter as he battled with drink and drug problems. Barrymore was treated at a clinic last year for his personal problems.

ITV programme director David Liddiment said he saw no reason to "abandon" Barrymore before the outcome of investigations into the death of Mr Lubbock.

Barrymore became one of the highest paid stars on TV with a string of shows such as Strike It Lucky and My Kind Of People.

It is understood that a series of Kids Say The Funniest Things, shot before Mr Lubbock's death a year and a half ago, will never be shown.

Barrymore has not been paid since a series of My Kind Of Music was screened in February. It pulled in around 5.5 million viewers for its Sunday teatime slot.

See also:

16 Sep 02 | UK
13 Sep 02 | England
13 Sep 02 | Entertainment
13 Sep 02 | England
12 Sep 02 | England
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