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Comedian John Bishop has apologised after a joke he made at the expense of Newcastle natives on Comic Relief backfired, leaving many viewers offended.

The 46-year-old came a cropper after a segment of Miranda Hart’s Mad March challenge had been screened on the Friday night telethon, which saw the comedienne organising a dog show in Oxford.

Afterwards John quipped: “I’m glad they put all that in order and the dog show was in Oxford and not Newcastle. It wouldn’t be very good having a dog show with Rottweilers.”

He quickly apologised, but dug himself into an even deeper hole by saying: “I do love people of the north-east, please don’t send your dogs down here.”

And his remarks quickly caused a storm on Twitter.

“John Bishop calling geordie girls dogs and that we all headbutt each other. pretty sure he’s from liverpool… cough, ­awkward,” tweeted one, while another added: “That was uncalled for!!!!”

The funnyman later took to his own Twitter page to apologise, saying: “No offence was intended by anything I said tonight – it’s a live show, off the cuff jokes were not meant to upset.”

His comments were not the only ones to cause controversy on the night.

A sketch featuring Rowan Atkinson as the Archbishop of Canterbury – which was broadcast before 8pm – left many viewers outraged after he uttered the line: “Jesus said love your neighbours but it doesn’t mean s**g your neighbours.”

The clip has since been removed from the BBC iPlayer.