The BBC have received a large number of complaints about comments made by Paul Daniels to a gay judge of Strictly Come Dancing, perceived by viewers as being homophobic.

After former TV magician Paul Daniels performed a cha cha cha with partner Orla Jordan, judge Craig Revel Horwood criticised his performance, particularly his lip syncing to the music. ‘You were lip-syncing for your life, darling.” he said. “I would move on before I get technical, darling.” Daniels responded by saying that Revel Horwood, who is openly gay should “not to give up his day job tasting sausages.”

The comments immediately prompted a storm of criticism on Twitter. One viewer posted: “That kind of Jim Davidson derogatory humour aimed at gay people is simply not acceptable in today’s UK.” Another said: “I was quite disgusted – totally homophobic and uncalled for. I know the show is after the watershed but comments like this should not be broadcast.”

But Daniels insists that the comments were not homophobic, writing on Twitter: “If journos thought the mild sausage gag was about being gay they obviously don’t keep up with the news. It’s Sausage Week!” Revel Horwood is currently fronting ‘Sausage Week’, a scheme to promote pork by the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Revel Horwood defended Daniels on Twitter: “Paul Daniels was naturally referring to my being crowned King of the Sizzle for sausage week!” But not all of his followers agree, one posted: “I strongly suspect that PD [Paul Daniels] knew exactly what meaning could be read into the comment. He will protest his innocence whilst smirking.”