Peter Kay has been accused of making a crude “homophobic” joke by Strictly Come Dancing viewers.
The comedian appeared on Saturday’s show to help host Claudia Winkleman read the terms and conditions for voting for the dancers.
Dressed in a high-vis jacket, Kay acted as if he were maintenance staff for the Blackpool Ballroom, where the show was set, and made jokes about the contestants.
He went in for a hug with Robert Rinder and said “let me say hello to this fella. He’s fantastic, this fella.”
Kay pretended the gay judge had groped him and shouted “hey steady!”
“Watch it, my lad, watch it my lad! This case is firmly closed,” whilst pointing at his backside.
The sketch had the audience, contestants and Judge Rinder himself laughing but viewers on twitter complained that the joke implied gay men are predators.
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Not everyone was upset by the joke though, with one person explaining that it didn’t offend them because “as a gay man, nothing wrong with Peter Kay’s joke to Rinder. Stop saying all small comments are homophobic or there’ll never be progress.”
The judge, who lives with his husband, Seth Cummings, recently revealed why he was taking part in this years show before it began.
Rinder said: “I’m a private secret dancer and I love to dance. The main reason is as my grandparents get older it’s a show they absolutely love.”
“Although they’ve always been unconditionally proud of me I think there is something magical about being able to take part in something which gives them such joy and escapism especially as they suffer from all sorts of illnesses.”
“No doubt the judges will be as fair, kind and thoughtful as me (especially the charming Craig Revel Horwood). I shall await their verdicts,” he added.
Fans had hoped the gay contestant would be paired with a same-sex partner after Judge Craig Revel Horwood had hinted it might be a possibility.
“I was rather hoping for a same sex couple – I doubt that it’ll happen this year. But I’d love it to happen because that might put a spanner in the works” Horwood said.