Wednesday, February 4, 2009

BBC drops Thatcher in racist remark row

LONDON, England- The daughter of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has been axed by a BBC television show after she made an offensive "off-air" remark, the corporation has confirmed.

According to reports in the British media, Carol Thatcher referred to a tennis player as a "golliwog" back stage during the filming of The One Show last Thursday.

The remark was made about a male tennis player taking part in the Australian Open tournament in Melbourne.

She was immediately challenged about her gaffe but dismissed it as a "joke."

The BBC said it considered "any language of a racist nature wholly unacceptable," before adding that it had hoped Thatcher, 55, would issue an unconditional apology but she had declined to do so.

The remark is thought to have upset a number of people on the show, with one BBC spokesman quoted by The Times newspaper as saying: "We will no longer be working with Carol Thatcher on The One Show."

However, the corporation said on its Web site that she would not be banned from the BBC as a whole.

Meanwhile, Thatcher's spokesman told The Times Wednesday that she made the remark in a conversation with the show's presenter Adrian Chiles back stage. "Carol never intended any racist comment," he said.

"She made a light aside about this tennis player and his similarity to the golliwog on the jam pot when she was growing up. There's no way, obviously, that she would condone any racist comment -- we would refute that entirely. It would not be in her nature to do anything like that.

"It is disgusting that we've had a leak of private conversations in the green room -- the BBC has more leaks than Thames Water."

Carol Thatcher, a winner in 2005 of reality television show "I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!," was a regular contributor on the BBC prime-time show.