Ant and Dec apologise for ‘impersonating people of colour’ on Saturday Night Takeaway

Ant McPartlin, 44, and Dec Donnelly, 44, have taken to Twitter to apologise for “impersonating people of colour” after using blackface in Saturday Night Takeaway episodes. The presenters said they were sorry in a statement, which they shared with their 6.8 million followers this evening, and added that historic footage of the duo portraying blackface has now been wiped from ITV.

The duo previously used make-up to impersonate Japanese girls and played two Jamaican women in infamous sketches from their ITV show.

They said: “During past episodes of Saturday Night Takeaway we impersonated people of colour in the undercover segment of the show.

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“We realise this was wrong and want to say that we sincerely sorry to everyone that was offended.

“We purposely stopped doing this several years ago and certainly would not make these sketches today.

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“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steps to ensure footage was taken down and have again recently confirmed with ITV that these segments, and any other historical content, that could cause offence, does not appear on either the ITV Hub or the Saturday Night Takeaway YouTube channel.”

Ant and Dec previously took part in Blackout Tuesday to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement after George Floyd’s death.

Their post read: “Today we stand in solidarity with the global community challenging racism, inequality and injustice in our society.”

It concluded with the hashtags: “#BlackLivesMatter #TheShowMustBePaused.”

In the sketch, the pair pretended to be extras in a pub.

Ant and Dec spoke about disguising themselves as the Jamaican ladies on a Saturday Night Takeaway DVD, according to Mirror Online.

Ant said in the historic footage: “It was funny sitting in a room, learning Jamaican, picking dresses, trying on false nails, was something I didn’t think I’d ever, ever do.”

Elsewhere in the clip, Dec pretended to do a Jamaican accent.

He added: “We had to find who Patty and Bernice were, so we’d have to go, ‘Well, I think Bernice probably came to England on a boat’.”

In 2004, Ant and Dec dressed up as two Japanese girls.

They used prosthetics, make-up and exaggerated accents to portray Suki and Keiko.

In the episode, the pair attempted to prank the Coronation Street cast into believing they were in love with Todd Grimshaw, played by Bruno Langley.