Will Young said the BBC ‘panicked’ in its decision to axe Carol Thatcher from The One Show after referring to a tennis player as a ‘golliwog’.

Speaking on Thursday night’s BBC programme Question Time, the 30-year-old pop star said: “I don’t think it’s the right decision. I feel sorry for the BBC because there’s a culture of timidity and they really don’t know which way to turn.”

He added: “Carol Thatcher used the word in a private conversation, they panicked. And they say, ‘this is going to get out, have to do something about it quickly, make it public’, and I worry because everything is becoming a bit vanilla.”

Question Time editor Gill Penlington invited the former Pop Idol winner on to the show during a live radio interview after hearing him speak about his passion for politics and saying how much he enjoyed the current affairs programme on BBC 5 Live.

The 30-year-old, whose hits include Leave Right Now and Your Game – said at the time: “As an avid viewer of Question Time, being in the hot seat is something I’ve always wanted to do. As the day gets closer, rest assured I’ll be swotting up on the hot topics.”

The show was hosted in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, and will be chaired by David Dimbleby.

Will, a politics graduate from Exeter University, has gone on to enjoy a successful solo career as a singer and songwriter after winning the Pop Idol reality show in 2002.

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