The Saturday Night Takeaway duo have apologised for their portrayal of black characters on the Saturday evening show.
Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly have issued an apology for using blackface disguises during their ITV prime time show Saturday Night Takeaway.
The sketches, which appeared on the ITV show, have the presenters dress up pretending to be black people.
One of their 2003 sketches recently resurfaced online, showing Ant and Dec dressed up as Jamaican women Patty and Bernice as they appeared as extras on the set of Emmerdale.
In a statement on Twitter, the pair wrote: “During past episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway we impersonated people of colour in the undercover segment of the show.
“We realise that this was wrong and want to say that we are sincerely sorry to everyone that we offended.
“We purposely stopped doing this several years ago and certainly would not make these sketches today.”
“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steps to ensure footage was taken down and have again recently confirmed with ITV that these segments, and any other historical content, that could cause offence, does not appear on either the ITV Hub or the Saturday Night Takeaway YouTube channel.”
The backtrack and remorse from the Geordie duo who comes as violent protests have taken place across the world and mainly in America after black man George Floyd was killed by a white police officer Derek Chauvin.
It sparked the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement which has demonstrated in countries across the world since with people calling for more equality for black people and other minorities.
Other celebrities, including Leigh Francis and Jimmy Fallon, have apologised for their portrayal of black characters as the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum.
In the UK, Little Britain and Matt Lucas and David Walliams’s other sketch show, Come Fly With Me, were both removed from streaming platforms because of their use of blackface.
The program has faced criticism in recent years for its portrayal of black and Asian characters by the two white men, with characters including a Caribbean woman called Desiree and a mail-order bride named Ting Tong.
Speaking to the Big Issue in 2017, Matt Lucas said that if he could make Little Britain again, he would not play black characters
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