Ant and Dec apologise for old episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway featuring blackface

Ant and Dec have apologised for impersonating people of colour in old episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway.


The TV duo have issued a statement on social media saying they are “sincerely sorry” for the clips, which date back to 2003.

They said: “During past episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway we impersonated people of colour in the undercover segment of the show.

“We realise this was wrong and want to say that we sincerely sorry to everyone that was offended.

“We purposely stopped doing this several years ago and certainly would not make these sketches today.”

Ant and Dec added: “We had already taken steps to ensure footage was taken down and have again recently confirmed with ITV that these segments, and any other historical content, that could cause offence, does not appear on either the ITV Hub or the Saturday Night Takeaway YouTube channel.”

It follows comedian Leigh Francis – best known as his character Keith Lemon – issuing an apology for a number of his characters in Bo’ Selecta.


“Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo’ Selecta, I portrayed many black people. Back then I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything, I’m not going to blame other people,” he said. “Been talking to some people, I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then.

“I just want to apologise, I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey.”

Meanwhile yesterday the BBC announced it had removed episodes of Little Britain from BBC iPlayer.

Starring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, Little Britain first started on Radio 4 in 2000 before moving to screen on BBC Three and later BBC One.

Episodes of the series, which last aired in 2007, have been pulled from a number of streaming services including iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox.

In a statement given to the Daily Mail newspaper, the BBC said: “There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review


“Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.”

The Mighty Boosh and The League of Gentlemen have also been removed from Netflix, The Guardian report.