Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has apologised for a “huge error” after reportedly making a rude comment about former winners Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley.

The 32-year-old broadcaster and the professional dancer, 36, won the last series of the BBC show and are now a couple.

Revel Horwood, known for his sarcastic barbs, joked that contestants on this year’s series should consider having sex with their partners if they want to win the competition, according to The Sun.

The paper reported that the 54-year-old made the comment during the pre-recorded segment for this year’s launch show, where Clifton and Dooley performed a dance.

When asked for advice for this year’s crop of contestants, which includes Mike Bushell, Anneka Rice and James Cracknell, Revel Horwood reportedly said they should be inspired by the improvement shown last year by Dooley.

Craig Revel Horwood said his comments were ‘hurtful’ (BBC/Ray Burmiston/Matt Burlem)

“Of course, if you sleep with your dance partner that helps,” he added, according to The Sun.

In a statement published in the paper, Revel Horwood said: “I’m deeply sorry for the offence caused to Kevin and Stacey and everyone who works on the show.

“I recognise that what I said was hurtful, cruel and incredibly disrespectful. It was a huge error of judgment that I very much regret.”

Dooley was dating personal trainer Sam Tucknott when she was partnered with Clifton on last year’s Strictly Come Dancing.

He accused Clifton of wrecking their five year relationship after they started dating following their win. 

Clifton was previously married to Karen Clifton, who he split from last year after three years of marriage. The pair remain close friends. 

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