EXCLUSIVE: Bodhi Talent clients have abandoned the Manchester-based talent agency after founder Archie Purnell was accused of being a “rogue trader” in a Deadline investigation.
Several actors posted on Twitter (now X) about their decision to quit Bodhi following allegations that Purnell was sending clients fake self-tape audition invites and breaking regulations by paying actors late.
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Purnell sent an email to clients on Thursday saying he was “heartbroken” at the claims, which he said were “false” and created by an individual who had previously attempted to “jeopardise my character.” He did not identify this individual in the email, which was co-signed by his business partner Ricky Cortis.
“To say I am heartbroken is an understatement, but as always, the truth will out. There is always two sides to every story,” Purnell wrote. “My legal time [sic] is currently dealing with it all and legal action is now being taken against all parties involved.”
Deadline has given Purnell repeated opportunities to respond to the specific allegations and tell his story. He has so far declined to do so.
In his email to clients, Purnell said he had been “overwhelmed” by the support from his actors, casting directors, and other industry professionals. On social media, however, at least seven actors said they were seeking new representation following the publication of Deadline’s story.
Danni Jackson, who created and starred in Comedy Central UK’s YouTube series Bad Cramps, said: “I emailed Bodhi this morning letting them know I was signing elsewhere and now this article comes out. I was repped by them for 2 years and the issues I had was with communication and empty promises. I’m so sorry to all affected by this.”
Kianyah Caesar-Downer, who has appeared in BBC series Doctors, said she was “shocked” by the allegations: “You don’t expect to wake up and see your agent plastered among the headlines.”
You don’t expect to wake up and see your agent plastered among the head lines
It’s safe to say, I’m shocked and slightly stressed
If anyone knows of agents with books open please let me know #seekingrepresentationhttps://t.co/bRcU9trWZ0 https://t.co/7FBRNfgk7m
— Kianyah Caesar – Downer (@KianyahCD) February 8, 2024
Laura Castle, who featured in hit BBC series Happy Valley, was among those who said she was seeking new representation. Matthew Harris, Jess Hulme, and Michael Ross were others who posted about their search for a new agent.
Given the news that has come out this morning about #BodhiTalent I am now seeking representation!
Would appreciate any agent recommendations to email and sending my love to other actors caught up in this situation. 🤎https://t.co/0qj5nsDv3c pic.twitter.com/XGSdM5JfmU
— Laura Castle (@LauraYorkMix) February 8, 2024
Other notable clients, including Hollyoaks star Emma Rigby and Tommy Cannon, one-half of the much-loved UK comedy double act Cannon and Ball, have not commented.
Purnell has not responded to a request for comment about clients leaving Bodhi.
Deadline has uncovered a series of allegations about Purnell, including that he has sent actors illegitimate briefs for self-tape auditions and failed to observe industry best practice in contracts by holding clients to notice periods. Bodhi is currently at risk of being struck off the UK Companies House register for filing its accounts late. Purnell denied wrongdoing.
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