Noel Edmonds has lost a High Court property battle with a businessman he described as ‘the brother he never had’.

The 62-year-old TV presenter, host of hit Channel 4 game show Deal Or No Deal, claimed that Ulrik Lawson, who ran a building, construction and development business with his wife Judy, had agreed to manage the refurbishment of his £1.3 million house in Exeter, Devon for ‘no fee’.

Mr Lawson denied that work was carried out on ‘that basis’ – saying he was a ‘construction professional’ and ‘could not afford to work in such a way’.

Judge David Wilcox said he did not accept that Mr Lawson ‘agreed to undertake the construction, design work and project management for cost as alleged by Mr Edmonds’.

In a written judgment handed down in London, the judge concluded that Mr Lawson had carried out work to the value of more than £600,000.

Judge Wilcox, who heard evidence at a trial in Bristol in September, said Mr Edmonds and Mr Lawson, who is in his early 50s, became close friends in 2005 after the presenter’s marriage broke down.

The judge said Mr Edmonds received a ‘great deal of emotional support’ from the Lawsons, and ‘from time to time’ had used their home as his ‘base in England”‘.

“The close relationship between the parties later became an impediment when they tried to objectively analyse their business arrangements,” said Judge Wilcox.

“In evidence, Mr Edmonds described Mr Lawson as the brother he never had, and told the court of their shared recreational interests, common values and similar public school experiences, which included an element of bullying.

“Mr Lawson was more reticent, but accepted that they had been close friends and then had sadly fallen out.”