11:27 08 October 2009
Bruce Forsyth has voiced his opinion regarding the Strictly Come Dancing race row, urging that people should have a "sense of humour" about it.
Professional dancer Anton Du Beke called his show partner, actress Laila Rouass, a "Paki" after she was seen with a heavy tan. The remark provoked a media frenzy, with many outlets calling for his resignation.
However show host Forsyth claims that this "slip up" would have handled in a more light-hearted way in the past.
He told TalkSport: "You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing."
He added: "Americans used to call us 'limeys' which doesn't sound very nice, but we used to laugh about it. Everybody has a nickname."
Du Beke has apologised "unreservedly" for his comment, which he said he made "in jest". Rouass, whose parents are Moroccan, accepted his apology and said he did not deserve to be sacked.
Forsyth believes the show should now move on. He said: "I'm sure there was nothing vindictive about what he said...the page should be closed on it."
Forsyth also defended Du Beke's character, stating: "He's a lovely, sensitive guy. OK, he can be a bit mouthy and can say quick things off-the-cuff like I do."
"But when you're like that you can slip up every now and again. You can say something that you don't mean.
"It's a damn shame and I feel for him and Laila, she's a lovely girl."
Despite pressure to have him sacked for his remark, the BBC is standing by Du Beke. The corporation released a statement saying: "The BBC does not condone offensive language in the workplace. Anton Du Beke has apologised unreservedly to Laila Rouass who has accepted his apology."
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