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LONDON — The BBC on Sunday apologized for airing an old episode of kids show The Tweenies, in which a character dressed up as disgraced TV host Jimmy Savile.
The episode featuring the parody was filmed in 2001, but re-aired this weekend on BBC digital network CBeebies, which has shown reruns of the series for years.
In the scene that drew viewer criticism, a character wore a blonde wig and a track suit, a Savile trademark, and used Savile’s accent and catchphrases, according to the BBC.
British police recently said that Savile, who was known for hosting BBC music charts show Top of the Pops, sexually abused more than 200 people, mostly kids, including on BBC premises.
“This morning CBeebies broadcast a repeat of an episode of the Tweenies, originally made in 2001, featuring a character dressed as a DJ impersonating Jimmy Savile,” the BBC said in its apology. “This program will not be repeated, and we are very sorry for any offense caused.”
Some viewers criticized the re-airing of the old show with the Savile character on Twitter.
“I’m not sure this was a good choice of DJ to impersonate on The Tweenies today,” one person tweeted. “Are BBC trying to self destruct?” another said.
CBeebies is a digital network featuring programming aimed at children aged 4-6. The Tweenies was a co-production of Tell-Tale Productions and the BBC, which was cancelled in 2003.
The series, whose episodes have since aired on CBeebies, was designed to help kids learn playfully.
Savile died in 2011 at age 84.
Savile references have been causing debate in the U.K., even in the advertising world. The British ad watchdog recently criticized a magazine and a clothing company for using photos of Savile in email campaigns and banned the ads.
Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com Twitter: @georgszalai
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