Simon Cowell has urged the BBC to show Strictly Come Dancing in the afternoon – because he thinks the show’s fans are getting old.

The X Factor judge is annoyed over the BBC’s plans to screen Strictly at the same time as his show and believes Strictly fan would welcome the move.

He said: “I’d suggest they show Strictly a bit earlier in the afternoon because their audience is older.

“I’m serious. Then they can have a nap if it finishes at six and watch X Factor later.”

Simon claimed that the BBC’s plans to show Strictly at the same time as X Factor were a “disservice to the licence fee payer”.

Simon told The Sun: “We don’t pay the licence fee for people to play games with ratings.

“It is childish and pathetic. We gave the BBC a choice last year about different time slots but they have this obsession with competing with us.”

Simon said he would work with the BBC to avoid the threatened clash.

He went on: “If X Factor and Strictly are first and second, why would you want to put them on at the same time? It’s not fair on licence fee payers.”

A BBC spokeswoman said: “We’re happy to discuss the scheduling, but as far as we’re aware it is ITV boss Peter Fincham and not Simon Cowell who makes this decision so it would be best that we talk with him.

“Any decisions we make will be taken with licence fee payers’ best interests at heart.”