Comedian Bobby Davro, 63, has liquidated his company after struggling to find work because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Davro’s company, Orvad Enterprises, owed over £92,000 to creditors, which included £32,000 to HMRC and nearly £56,500 to NatWest Bank. It is understood that saleable assets from the business are only £3,400.
In January, Davro, whose real name is Robert Nankeville, took out a government-backed Bounce Back Loan because he was unable to pay bills. He claimed: “There is no work. I only did four gigs last year. I can’t earn anything. I haven’t been able to earn money for a year – it’s dreadful. I had to take out a bounce-back loan to keep my head above water. But I’ve got to pay it back and how am I going to pay it back if I can’t earn a living?”
It was reported that when the comic’s career was going well, his company had profits of £186,844, however, this was back in 2005 and since then, he found it harder to earn. He added the lack of work had also affected his wellbeing. “Not only have I lost my income, I’ve lost the thing I love. It’s depressing to have that taken away from you. I can’t go out there and do what I love. We are all in the same boat — all the comedians, all the theatre actors and the hospitality industry. Sadly not everybody could be helped. I wish the government would do more. We haven’t got any benefits coming our way. We’re not being given any money or grants.”
He was also angry at government calls to retrain if their work was no longer viable. “It’s all I know. They say we can retrain. What an insult when I’ve done this for 45 years. Retrain at what? It’s all I know. I’m 62. I should think about retiring, not about starting again. I found that rather insulting.”
Davro made his TV debut in 1981 and has worked as a stand-up, impressionist and actor, including appearing in EastEnders and Dancing on Ice as well as many pantomimes.
Simon Renshaw, director with Company Debt, comments: “It’s common for those who have made a successful career in the entertainment sector to set up limited companies so they can benefit from reduced rates of tax, which means paying corporation tax, compared to the higher rate income tax.“There has been talk of a crackdown in this area, but it remains perfectly legitimate. However, the pandemic struck suddenly and despite the tax efficiencies, some of these celebrities will have failed to budget for the hard times. HMRC will take action and the case of Bobby Davro will not be an isolated one. There is going to be a continued rise in the number of insolvencies of these entities, which are often classified as personal service companies.
Across the industry, there has been a huge loss of earnings, resulting from the loss of live shows and touring opportunities. Those affected need to take action as Davro has done rather than face compulsory liquidation and the possibility of personal bankruptcy.”