A beheading sequence from the climax of this Saturday's episode of Doctor Who, Robot of Sherwood, has been edited out by the BBC as a mark of respect in the light of recent news events in Iraq and Syria.

The edit has been made to remove a decapitation in the climatic fight scene between Robin Hood and the Sheriff; something that could be deemed insensitive after two US journalists were killed by IS (Islamic State) militants in the past month. 

On 19 August, militants from the IS insurgent group uploaded a video to YouTube entitled "A Message to America" that showed a masked man murdering American journalist James Foley by decapitation. A second similarly gruesome video emerged on 2 September showing the death of another US journalist, Steven Sotloff. The group have threatened to kill a third hostage, a British man who RadioTimes.com will not name at the request of his family. 

Robot of Sherwood is written by Mark Gatiss and was filmed in February, long before the IS hit the headlines. It centres around Peter Capaldi's twelfth Doctor and Jenna Coleman's Clara meeting the flamboyant Robin Hood, played by Tom Riley.

A spokesman for the BBC said: "In light of recent news events, we have made an edit to episode three out of respect."

Robot of Sherwood will air at 7.30pm on BBC1 on Saturday 6 September