Ex-EastEnder Wendy Richard has said she’s devastated by the uproar caused by comments she made on Big Brother‘s Little Brother about “inscrutable Chinese” people.

Wendy described ousted Thai housemate Kathreya Kasisopa as “very fake” before adding: “What is it they say about these inscrutable Chinese? And she is Thai, but it is all Oriental isn’t it? Well, it is to me anyway.”

Wendy told LBC Radio: “I’m so upset, I’m close to tears. I feel ill. I can’t believe such a brouhaha has started up.”

Claiming she had been influenced by outdated portrayals of Chinese people in books, Wendy said: “It’s a long time since I was at school but i was thinking of those Arthur Conan Doyle books with Sherlock Holmes when it was the inscrutable Chinese.”

She went on: “What I was trying to convey is that Kat did not betray her thoughts about what was going on in the house all of the time.”

“I have just been told by an American friend that Oriental is considered offensive in the US and I did not know that.

“I didn’t mean to cause offence.”