LONDON (Reuters) - The BBC has apologized for jibes made by one of its presenters about jockey Liam Treadwell’s teeth, shortly after he had ridden a 100-1 outsider to victory in the Grand National.
The broadcaster said it had received 1,477 complaints from viewers angered after presenter Clare Balding joked about the state of Treadwell’s teethin a TV interview after the race.
“Give us a big grin to the camera,” said Balding.
Then to laughter from onlookers she added: “No let’s see your teeth. He hasn’t got the best in the world but you can afford to go and get them done now.”
Treadwell, 23, had just sprung a huge surprise after guiding rank outsider Mon Mome to victory at the Aintree racecourse, becoming the biggest-priced winner since 1967 and only the fifth horse to win at such a price in 162 National races.
“Clare Balding had no intention whatsoever of upsetting or embarrassing Liam Treadwell, but she fully accepts that she should not have raised the subject with him at that time,” the BBC said in a statement.
“The BBC and Clare apologize for any offence caused. Clare has also apologized directly to Liam Treadwell.”
Treadwell told the Daily Mail newspaper he had received a text message apology from the presenter Saturday.
“Of course it was the wrong thing for her to say, and under normal circumstances I might have said something back, but yesterday wasn’t a normal day,” he told the paper.
“I was on top of the world and nothing could ruin that.”
His fiancee Emily Warner said the jockey was probably too superstitious to consider changing his appearance.
“I love him whatever Clare Balding says,” she told the Daily Mirror.
“Any other day those comments would have really upset him but I think he was just so happy to have won, he wasn’t that fussed.”
Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Steve Addison