Peter Kay made a surprise appearance on Saturday night’s live Strictly Come Dancing, coming on in the guise of a backstage worker dressed in a high-vis jacket, in an attempt to add some comedy value to the obligatory reading of the voting terms and conditions.
But not everyone was laughing. While many found the comedian’s efforts hilarious, some were unimpressed by a section involving gay contestant Judge Rinder.
Swapping places with host Claudia Winkleman, Kay slipped an arm around Rinder’s waist, saying “Let me say hello to this fella. He’s fantastic, this fella,” before reacting as if the Judge had goosed him, much to the amusement of at least some of the audience and his fellow celebrities.
“Hey, steady!” said Kay. “Watch it Milord, watch it Milord! This case is firmly closed!’
Later in the skit he repeated the same reaction as if he had again been groped.
You can watch part of the skit here:
Some viewers say Kay’s antics play on the stereotype of gay men being predatory and have labelled them outdated and “homophobic”.
Peter Kay there, wringing out dead catchphrases from 10 years ago and relying on casual homophobia for cheap laughs. #Strictly
— IncrediblyRich (@IncrediblyRich) November 19, 2016
— Brett Allan (@buddhaboy74) November 19, 2016
— Otterly botterly (@Iancoggneato) November 19, 2016
Lol Peter Kay you hilarious homophobe #strictly
— Marc Moss-Jones (@kip_saunders) November 19, 2016
But others think that’s too strong a term for what they believe was simply a joke.
— ???????????????????? ???????????????????????????????????? (@_PeterMcPherson) November 19, 2016
I'm gay and thorougly unoffended by Peter Kay on Strictly. If you consider him to have been homophobic; you haven't experienced homophobia.
— Jo (@OnTheJoSlow) November 19, 2016
And viewers are similarly divided when it comes to interpreting Judge Rinder’s apparent laughter during the skit.
Are people really saying Peter Kay was homophobic? You are joking right? Judge Rinder was in hysterics! #Strictly
— Lewis (@lewispringle) November 19, 2016
Hahaha…Peter Kay & Judge Rinder ????Cue the Twitter trolls moaning about homophobic humour. Rinder LOVED it!#StrictlyComeDancing
— David Talbot (@davidtalbot59) November 19, 2016
People who think a gay dude laughing off a 'backs to the wall lads' joke on live TV in front of millions is cause it was gr8 are very Brexit
— Gee Aitch Cee (@Scriblit) November 20, 2016
The BBC declined to comment on the controversy. RadioTimes.com has also approached Judge Rinder and Peter Kay.