Du Beke 'mortified' after making racist remark

'Strictly Come Dancing' performer Anton du Beke said tonight he was “mortified” after making a racist remark to dance partner Laila Rouass.

'Strictly Come Dancing' performer Anton du Beke said tonight he was “mortified” after making a racist remark to dance partner Laila Rouass.

The 43-year-old appeared on spin-off show 'It Takes Two' to clear the air and repeat his apologies.

He said: “I would just like to reiterate my apology from last weekend to Laila, to everybody on the show really and to everybody who watches the show because I feel embarrassed, I feel stupid as well.

“It was a stupid thing to do. Now people are talking about that when they should be talking about the show, the great show that it is, and as I say I’m mortified about it completely and Laila has been quite remarkably wonderful.”

Du Beke sparked outrage when it emerged he had called Rouass a “paki” when she attended rehearsals wearing fake tan.

Tonight she told 'It Takes Two' host Claudia Winkleman that she did not want to dwell on the row.

She said: “We just want to move on, this happened weeks ago and we’ve been getting on very well.”

The actress went on: “I just want to say honestly, while we have the opportunity to say it, that I’ve just had such a great four weeks, I just don’t want it to end and he’s been an absolute joy.

“Apart from the dancing he’s taught me how to be gracious and he’s taught me how to laugh about silly things. We’ve just had such a great time and I just want it to carry on. It’s such a shame that this has happened and I want to move on.”

Yesterday veteran presenter Bruce Forsyth was forced to backtrack in a formal BBC statement after he said the nation should get a “sense of humour” about the controversy.

Forsyth, 81, told radio station TalkSport: “We used to have a sense of humour about this. You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing.

“At one time the Americans used to call us ’limeys’ which doesn’t sound very nice, but we used to laugh about it. Everybody has a nickname.”

But hours later a statement from Forsyth was issued by the BBC.

“What Anton said to Laila was wrong and he has apologised unreservedly for this. Nor do I in any way excuse or condone the use of such language,” it said.

“To be absolutely clear, the use of racially offensive language is never either funny or acceptable.

“However, there is a major difference between this and racist comments which are malicious in intent and, whilst I accept that we live in a world of extraordinary political correctness, we should keep things in perspective.”

The statement added “these are my personal views and not necessarily those of the BBC”.

The broadcaster has resisted pressure to sack Du Beke from the hit series following the off-air comment he made to Rouass during rehearsals.

He had already apologised “unreservedly” for his behaviour towards his dancing partner, who has Indian ancestry.

Rouass has accepted Du Beke’s apology for the comment and said he did not deserve to be sacked, but the BBC has faced claims of double standards over the incident.

Carol Thatcher was axed from her role on BBC1’s 'The One Show' after she used an offensive term during a chat in the programme’s green room.

The corporation drew a distinction between the two incidents, saying that Du Beke offered an unreserved apology, whereas Thatcher apologised but continued to maintain her comment was a joke.

The row was even discussed on last night’s 'Question Time'.

Work and Pensions Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “I am a big fan of Bruce Forsyth. I just don’t agree with him on this one.”

Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather said: “I am amazed by Bruce Forsyth’s comments. He needs to just shut up.

“An edict from the BBC that no one should comment on this would help.”

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