A joint statement in open court was read on 16 February 2023 before Mr Justice Chamberlain after Mr Paul Wylie and Mrs Clare Wylie, private individuals, accepted an offer of settlement in relation to the misuse of their private information in respect of the filming, making and multiple broadcasts of an episode of the television programme, ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!’ Channel 5 has also agreed to pay substantial damages, an undertaking not to further broadcast the episode in which they featured and an agreement to pay Mr and Mrs Wylie’s reasonable legal costs.
The case: Paul and Clare Wylie v Channel 5 Broadcasting Ltd
In October 2016, two High Court Enforcement Agents (HCEAs) attended Mr and Mrs Wylie’s home to enforce a debt Mr Wylie owed to his former employer. A film crew was in attendance and Mrs Wylie, who was initially home alone with her two daughters, made it clear she did not wish for the film crew to enter her home and for either herself or her children to be filmed. The film crew remained outside the property as requested.
However, the HCEAs wore bodycams and radio microphones which were used to record video and audio footage without consent. This footage was subsequently used in an episode of ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!‘ first broadcast by Channel 5 on 5 April 2017.
The episode showed Mr and Mrs Wylie in a state of significant distress and has subsequently been broadcast to over 10 million people. It was broadcast to over 5 million people in a form in which both our client’s faces were shown, and later to a further 5.8 million people in a form in which their faces were blurred.
The broadcast of the programme caused considerable upset and distress to our clients due to the grave misuse of their private information.
Lauren Twidale, Associate, Media Disputes at Hamlins, said:
“Our clients, Paul and Clare Wylie who are private individuals have received a public apology from Channel 5 in the Royal Courts of Justice for the serious misuse of their private information in an episode of the TV programme, ‘Can’t Pay, We’ll Take It Away!’ The substantial sum in damages Channel 5 has agreed to pay to our clients in settlement of their claim reflects the severity of the infringement of their privacy. It has been a privilege to act for them both and obtain justice in this case and to hold Channel 5 to account.”
Hamlins’ Media Disputes team has helped, and is continuing to help, a number of clients with claims against Channel 5 for breach of privacy during the filming of the TV programme ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away!’ (CPWTIA) and similar fly-on-the-wall documentaries.
Hamlins’ outstanding Media Disputes solicitors who acted on behalf of our clients comprise: Christopher Hutchings, Partner; Lauren Twidale, Associate; Emma Thompson, Senior Associate; Daniel Shaw, Associate; Anna Seal, Senior Paralegal; and Meera Khunti, Senior Paralegal.
Find out more about ‘Can’t Pay? We’ll Take it Away’ Privacy Claims or contact Chris Hutchings. If you think you have a claim against this programme or any other fly on the wall documentary then please contact us on email@example.com.