Page last updated at 16:05 GMT, Sunday, 4 October 2009 17:05 UK

Strictly star sorry for race slur

Anton Du Beke and Laila Rouass
Du Beke says the couple exchange a great deal of 'banter' in rehearsals

Strictly Come Dancing star Anton Du Beke has apologised "unreservedly" for any offence he caused after it was claimed he called his partner a "Paki".

The ballroom dancer denied being racist after an exchange "in jest" with Laila Rouass during training for the show.

The News of the World said he used the slur two weeks ago after the Footballers' Wives actress had a spray tan before filming.

Rouass has accepted his apology and said the couple had "moved on".

A BBC spokesman said the organisation did not condone offensive language in the workplace.

'Regret use'

Du Beke, who also presents Saturday evening game show Hole in the Wall, said: "I must say immediately and categorically that I am not a racist and that I do not use racist language.

"During the course of rehearsals Laila and I have exchanged a great deal of banter entirely in jest, and two weeks ago there was an occasion when this term was used between the two of us.

"There was no racist intent whatsoever but I accept that it is a term which causes offence and I regret my use of it, which was done without thought or consideration of how others would react.

"I apologise unreservedly for any offence my actions might have caused."

Rouass, whose parents are Moroccan, walked away from the situation, the News of the World reported.

She has since accepted her dance partner's apology.

She said: "It was a situation which happened that we have moved on from and I accept his apology.

"I'm really enjoying the show and dancing with Anton and hope we can go as far as possible in the competition."

On Saturday, Crimewatch presenter and former policeman Rav Wilding was the third celebrity to be voted off the show, alongside partner Aliona Vilani.

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