Craig Revel Horwood is "deeply sorry" for offending Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley.

Craig Revel Horwood

Craig Revel Horwood

The 54-year-old choreographer admitted he had made a "huge error" when he joked about the relationship between last year's 'Strictly Come Dancing' champions at the filming of the launch show for the 2019 series on Friday (30.08.19), claiming they proved that it "helped" the contestants if they slept with their professional partners.

But he has now apologised and said: "I'm deeply sorry for the offence caused to Kevin and Stacey and everyone who works on the show.

"I recognise that what I said was hurtful, cruel and incredibly disrespectful. It was a huge error of judgment that I very much regret."

Craig made his comments after Stacey and Kevin - whose relationship emerged some time after the show ended - had danced and host Tess Daly then asked the judging panel, which also features Motsi Mabuse, Shirley Ballas and Bruno Tonioli for their advice to this year's cast.

The dance expert said the hopefuls should be inspired by the documentary maker but then quipped: "Stacey was dragged up from the dance gutter... of course, if you sleep with your dance partner that helps."

Filming was immediately stopped and aides spoke with Stacey and her family before the panel sequence was re-shot.

A source told The Sun on Sunday newspaper: "It was an awful moment. Craig was obviously trying to be funny, but realised as soon as he said it that he had gone too far.

"The audience was visibly shocked, as was Tess Daly and the other judges.

"Immediately after he made the comment, 'cut' was called, and chaos broke out.

"Several aides rushed over to Stacey and her family to check if they were OK. They were all stunned, and Stacey's mum obviously wasn't OK at all.

"She looked very upset, and soon after that she left the studio in floods of tears.

"The bosses were absolutely furious with Craig and wasted no time in taking him to one side afterwards and telling him the remark was totally unacceptable.

"They encouraged him to make a full apology to Stacey and Kevin, which he was happy to do. He knows that what he said was completely out of line."