Ant and Dec have apologised for appearing in blackface on old episodes of their show Saturday Night Takeaway.
The duo concealed their real identities with darker make-up and prosthetics in order to pull pranks on famous people.
In a statement on Wednesday, they said they were “sincerely sorry” and had requested ITV remove the 2003 and 2004 sketches from its catch-up service.
Their apology follows widespread Black Lives Matter protests, in the US and the UK, over the death of George Floyd.
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“During past episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway we impersonated people of colour in the Undercover segment of the show,” they wrote in a statement.
“We realise that this was wrong and want to say that we are sincerely sorry to everyone that we offended.”
They added: “We purposely stopped doing this several years ago and certainly would not make these sketches today.”
The presenting pair dressed up as two fictional Jamaican women, Patty and Bernice, during a segment in 2003, and as two Japanese girls, Suki and Keiko, the year after, adopting fake accents.
It’s not the first time this year that they have had to apologise for causing cultural offence on their primetime weekend show.
In March, they both wore headbands that featured the Japanese Rising Sun flag – seen by some as a symbol of Japan’s imperialist past – during a martial arts inspired performance alongside pop singer Anne Marie.
- ITV and Anne-Marie apologise for Ant and Dec performance
- Little Britain pulled from iPlayer and Netflix
Their latest apology arrives just a day after the BBC removed the popular comedy Little Britain from streaming sites due to objections resurfacing regarding some of the sketch show’s similarly outdated characters.
And comedian Leigh Francis last week issued an emotional apology for having made himself up as black celebrities in the noughties impression show Bo’ Selecta.
In January, Ant and Dec won their 19th consecutive presenting award, at the National Television Awards.
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