A security operation to protect the stars and judges of The X Factor was reportedly launched on Monday night after Muslim preacher Omar Bakri criticised the show.

According to reports in The Sun, police have raised concerns that a recording posted on a Muslim website in which Bakri called The X Factor ‘a form of hatred’ and ‘non-belief’ will be seen as a religious call to attack the ITV show.

In the recording, Bakri condemns the show for supporting the charity Help for Heroes, which raises funds to support injured British troop members.

A source from The X Factor said: “Producers have spoken to CID and anti-terrorism officers about the potential threat level – it’s being taken very seriously.”

Producers are reportedly working with anti-terror units to boost security at Fountain Studios in Wembley, north London, where The X Factor is filmed.

Additional measures for this Saturday – when all of the 12 finalists will perform their charity single, Hero – will include X-ray scans and a police presence.

Our source said: “We called in officers from Scotland Yard because of genuine safety fears. We are in the process of discussing extra security measures for Saturday night’s live show.”