Dermot O’Leary, the new host of Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, says Channel 4 was wrong to replace the controversial Celebrity Big Brother with the new format.

Channel 4 suspended Celebrity Big Brother after Shilpagate, the allegedly racist row that broke out between housemates Jade Goody and Shilpa Shetty.

But Dermot told Radio 1’s Newsbeat: “I thought it was a mistake.

“I still think it’s a good show and I don’t think anyone should apologise for what happened last year. It conjured up debate and asked serious questions.”

Big Brother: Celebrity Hijack, which sees stars such as Matt Lucas and Joan Rivers act as the voice of Big Brother, launches on Channel 4 and E4 on Thursday night.

The 12 housemates, who have been described as ‘pure prodigies’, include an Olympic boxing hopeful, a classical musician and the chairman of the Scottish Youth Parliament.

Click here to see all the Celebrity Hijack housemates