The BBC has apologised after weatherman Tomasz Schafernaker made a rude gesture live on screen.

He ‘flipped the bird’ (raising his middle finger) to BBC News 24 presenter Simon McCoy during a humorous handover.

But Schafernaker was reportedly unaware he was on screen at the time and hurriedly tried to cover up the gesture.

A BBC spokesman said: “The News Channel presenter in the studio acknowledged a mistake had been made, and we apologise for any offence caused.

“Tomasz was not aware that he was on air, and whilst the gesture was only shown for a second, it was not acceptable.”

Schafernaker was responding to McCoy’s joke introduction, who said: “Now we’ll have the weather forecast in just a minute. Of course it will be 100 per cent accurate and provide you with all the details you could possibly want.”

The Polish-born weatherman apologised on his own website. He won the TRIC award for Best TV Weather Presenter in March 2010.