Comments made by ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ host Bruce Forsyth has doubled the amount of complaints made to the BBC about Anton Du Beke’s racist remarks.

The complaints against the show sparked by Du Beke calling his dancing partner Laila Rouass a “Paki” in rehearsals had been tailing off.

The 80-year old presenter told TalkSport radio station that the nation should get a “sense of humour” about the incident yesterday, viewers rang in again to complain.

The BBC said it had received 686 complaints as of this morning, up almost 200 on yesterday’s total of 487.

In his unscheduled radio appearance yesterday, Forsyth said, “We used to have a sense of humour about this. You go back 25, 30, 40 years and there has always been a bit of humour about the whole thing. At one time the Americans used to call us ‘limeys’ which doesn’t sound very nice, but we used to laugh about it. Everybody has a nickname. And Anton is such a sweet guy, it’s such a terrible shame.”

Forsyth added that he was sure there was “nothing vindictive” about Du Beke’s remarks and said his apology should be accepted.

Later Forsyth issued a statement through the BBC clarifying his position.

“What Anton said to Laila was wrong and he has apologised unreservedly for this. Nor do I in any way excuse or condone the use of such language.

“To be absolutely clear, the use of racially offensive language is never either funny or acceptable. However, there is a major difference between this and racist comments which are malicious in intent and whilst I accept that we live in a world of extraordinary political correctness, we should keep things in perspective.”