Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

He Didn't Do Well ... BBC Tells Brucie to Say Sorry over Strictly Race Row

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

He Didn't Do Well ... BBC Tells Brucie to Say Sorry over Strictly Race Row

Article excerpt

Byline: Amar Singh

STRICTLY Come Dancing presenter Bruce Forsyth was today at the centre of a race row after telling the nation to get a "sense of humour" about the word "Paki".

The 81-year-old presenter of the BBC's flagship entertainment programme defended dancer Anton Du Beke for using the term to describe actress Laila Rouass.

Furious BBC bosses were today set to tell Forsyth to retract his remarks as viewers besieged the corporation with complaints.

A show source said: "What Bruce said was in no way the BBC's position and as the presenter of the programme, he has the opportunity to clarify this before Saturday's show."

Hundreds of people have complained to the BBC after Du Beke made the remark to celebrity dance partner Rouass after she got a spray tan.

Carole Thatcher was sacked in February from the One Show for using the word "golliwog" off-air in the programme's green room. Du Beke's comment was also off-air during a training session two weeks ago.

The BBC's decision not to sack Du Beke -- who issued an apology via a statement earlier this week -- has prompted accusations of double standards. A BBC spokeswoman claimed Thatcher had not offered an unconditional apology.

In a further bid to defuse the row, Du Beke has been told to apologise on air tomorrow night on sister show It Takes Two. But senior bosses at the BBC are said to be furious at Forsyth's "off-message" remarks on radio station Talk-Sport yesterday. Forsyth said: "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."

Speaking to Adrian Durham and Darren Gough on Bowtime, Forsyth was asked if Du Beke's apology and Rouass's acceptance of it should be the end of the matter. …

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