Agencies, Archie Purnell, Bodhi Talent, Jack Bence, Jack Whitehall, News, Television, Thea Beyleveld

‘The Crown’ & ‘Bad Education’ Actors Say They Are Owed Thousands In Withheld Fees By “Rogue” Agency Bodhi Talent

EXCLUSIVE: An actress who featured in the final season of The Crown and a series regular in Jack Whitehall’s Bad Education have said they are owed thousands in unpaid fees by scandal-hit agency Bodhi Talent.

Thea Beyleveld and Jack Bence were both loyal Bodhi clients but said they discovered that the agency had withheld money from them following the publication of a Deadline exposé on the company. Beyleveld also alleged that Bodhi “skimmed” money from her paycheck.

Beyleveld and Bence are among around eight Bodhi clients in contact with acting union Equity as they attempt to secure their money. Equity believes the cases are actionable and the union will go through civil courts to fight for cash. It is unlawful for UK agents to pay actors later than 10 days.

Bodhi founder Archie Purnell has not responded to requests for comment. He has previously denied paying actors late, telling Deadline he was “absolutely stunned” by the “totally incorrect” allegations.

Beyleveld said she was owed nearly £9,500 ($12,000) by Bodhi, including more than £2,000 from her work on Season 6 of The Crown, in which she appeared as a speech therapist to Princess Margaret, played by Lesley Manville.

Separately, Beyleveld said she was owed more than £7,000 from a Motorway car sales advert she filmed with Wonderhood Studios, the production company founded by former Channel 4 CEO David Abraham. The cash was paid to Bodhi by Wonderhood on August 25, 2023.

Beyleveld received more than £3,000 of her payment from The Crown, but after contacting the show’s accounts team, Beyleveld discovered Bodhi had withheld around £2,000 for more than a year, according to remittance documents.

Beyleveld said Bodhi founder Archie Purnell repeatedly lied about receiving full payment from The Crown producer Left Bank Pictures and Wonderhood. In a WhatsApp message in January, 12 months after receiving payment from The Crown, he said he was sending the companies a “death threat” to secure Beyleveld’s money.

Beyleveld said it was evidence of “immense” deception. In an email demanding her paychecks this month, she accused Bodhi of bringing “highly respected” production companies into “disrepute” by claiming they were later payers. “Words cannot express the rage, betrayal and hurt you have caused me,” she told Purnell.

The actress, who has featured in Casualty and Coronation Street, also claimed that her paychecks showed that Bodhi had not paid her certain fees for The Crown, including costume fittings and holiday entitlement.

Beyleveld told Deadline that she had a good relationship with Purnell after signing with the company in August 2022, adding that his communication was “disarmingly” better than bigger agents.

Beyleveld felt that she received prompt payment on some jobs and trusted him when he claimed to be chasing money. “The ease and the casualness of the lies means it all made sense,” she said. “He emotionally manipulated me and as soon as I saw the [Deadline] article, and I saw late payments, I thought now I have to check this.”

Bodhi Talent founder Archie Purnell leading a Luna Kids Casting audition day.

Bence, who played Frank Grayson in BBC comedy Bad Education, claimed that he was owed more than £3,000 from a £5,400 fee for a Hilton ad filmed with Paris Hilton in fall 2023. Bence sent Purnell a WhatsApp voice note on February 5 chasing full payment after previous attempts to obtain the cash.

Purnell replied saying it was “annoying” that Bodhi had not received the fee and promised to chase again. He offered to pay Bence an advance of £2,000 from Bodhi’s reserves so that the actor was not “stressing” about the late payment. “I don’t mind as long as it’s kept between us,” Purnell said.

At the time, Bence said it felt “very touching” that Purnell had paid the advance, but he now feels like he was being manipulated. Bence said he had been told by a fellow actor on the Hilton ad that they had been paid in full.

“I was at a big agency before, but I got swallowed up by the system. To go to an agent [in Bodhi] that was so warm, loving, supportive, and seemed to be opening the right doors, it blindsided me. I just never had any reason to disbelieve him. Looking back on it now, there was a hell of a lot of lies,” he said. “It was very naive on my part because we operate so much on trust.”

Bodhi has faced a reckoning since Deadline’s investigation and several clients have quit the agency, including two of its highest-profile stars: Hollyoaks actress Emma Rigby and Tommy Cannon, one-half of the much-loved UK comedy double act Cannon and Ball.

“Awful to hear what’s happening to clients signed with Bodhi Talent. I hope you all find incredible agents that will work hard for you talented lot. Luckily I haven’t had a lot of contact with them since I signed,” Cannon said on X.

Deadline has also revealed claims that Bodhi has been exploiting the acting dreams of children by charging their parents potentially unlawful representation fees worth hundreds of pounds. A group of parents are on the warpath after claiming they have been “scammed” by Bodhi’s sister agency, Luna Kids Casting.

In a new statement, the UK’s Agents of Young Performers Association (AYPA) told Deadline: “The AYPA is deeply disturbed by the practices that have been revealed and saddened by the number of individuals affected. The establishment of the AYPA was driven by the aim to advocate for stricter regulations within children’s agencies. Through our comprehensive code of conduct for members, we strive to reassure parents of young performers about the standards we uphold and red flags to look for when signing with new representation.”

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