Hundreds of viewers have complained to the BBC about its decision to axe Carol Thatcher for referring to a tennis player as a ‘golliwog’, the corporation said.

The former Prime Minister’s daughter was dropped as a contributor to The One Show after talks with corporation bosses. Her position is understood to have become untenable after she declined to issue an unconditional apology for the remark, made after filming the show, during a conversation with presenter Adrian Chiles and several guests.

A spokesman for the corporation said it had received ‘a few hundred’ complaints from people upset about the decision.

Ms Thatcher’s agent launched a stinging attack on the BBC saying it should apologise to her for ‘condoning’ the leaking of a private conversation.

Ali Gunn told talkSport radio that Carol was the victim of a personal campaign.

She said: “I would like to say that this comment was made in jest afterwards in the green room over a drink and no one objected to it at the time.

“I think it’s absolutely outrageous that the BBC has condoned this leak. They haven’t even disciplined the member of staff and frankly we issued a fulsome apology that was rejected by them.

“But they should be issuing us with an apology.”

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