ITV has said it will not air the final episode of its drama show Viewpoint on Friday evening following allegations of sexual harassment against star Noel Clarke.
A spokesperson for ITV said it had decided it was “no longer appropriate” to show the episode after 20 women made claims to The Guardian.
“ITV has a zero tolerance policy to bullying, harassment and victimisation and robust procedures are in place to investigate and deal with any complaints. We strongly believe that everyone deserves to work in a supportive and safe environment,” the broadcaster said.
The episode – the final in the five-part police drama series – was scheduled to be shown at 9pm.
Thursday night’s episode was the most popular programme in its time slot with around 3.5 million viewers, according to the Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board.
Viewers had earlier criticised ITV for not pulling the episode after the allegations came to light.
Clarke, 45, has been accused of sexual harassment and bullying spanning a number of years.
The actor has “vehemently” denied the claims and said he will defend himself against the “false allegations”.
ITV said: “In light of the very serious nature of the allegations against Noel Clarke raised by 20 women in The Guardian’s report, ITV has decided it is no longer appropriate to broadcast the final episode of the drama Viewpoint on ITV main channel this evening.”
The broadcaster said it would make the episode available on its catch-up service ITV Hub “for a limited time” so that viewers could still watch the conclusion to the series.
“We are mindful that some of our viewers have already invested four hours of their time over the past four nights in following this thriller which was due to conclude this evening, and they have yet to see the final episode,” it said.
ITV is the latest company to distance itself from the actor, after Sky and production company Vertigo Films dropped Clarke from any future productions.
Sky has said it “stands against all forms of sexual harassment and bullying and takes any allegations of this nature extremely seriously”.
The actor had been commissioned to star in a fourth season of Sky show Bulletproof but he has now been removed from the programme.
Vertigo Films, which produces Bulletproof, said it was “devastated” by the allegations.
The actor was handed the outstanding British contribution to cinema (OBCC) prize at the BAFTA ceremony in London earlier this month, but the academy said it did not know about the claims when they announced in March that they planned to give him the award.
BAFTA said it had been emailed anonymous second and third-hand accounts of alleged misconduct after the announcement, but the accusers had failed to go on record.
“Had the victims gone on record as they have with The Guardian, the award would have been suspended immediately,” BAFTA said.
Defending its actions, it added: “It would have been improper to halt the award at that point based on the extremely limited information that we had where the ultimate sources were unknown.”