Craig Revel Horwood has apologised for mocking last year's Strictly champion Stacey Dooley's relationship with dance partner Kevin Clifton.

During filming for the launch show which will air on Saturday night, The Sun reports that Craig, 58 took a swipe at Stacey.

When asked by Tess what the celebrities should expect from their Strictly experience, Craig explained that they should follow in the footsteps of Stacey – who went on to win the glitterball trophy with Kevin. He then allegedly said: ‘Of course, if you sleep with your dance partner that helps…’

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According to The Sun, filming was halted and Craig was forced to apologise for the remark – which upset Stacey’s mum in the studio audience.

He has issued an apology and claimed it was an ‘error of judgement’. ”I’m deeply sorry for the offence caused to Kevin and Stacey and everyone who works on the show,’ Craig told The Sun.

‘I recognise that what I said was hurtful, cruel and incredibly disrespectful. It was a huge error of judgement that I very much regret.’

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Kevin and Stacey will dance together for the first time on Saturday night since scooping the trophy last Christmas.

The pair embarked on a romantic relationship following their time on the show, but have vowed to keep their relationship as private as possible following her rocky split from Sam Tuckknott.

Stacey, 32, told The Guardian: ‘Kev and I have agreed not to go into too much detail about our private lives because you can’t really indulge that and then ask for privacy. That’s why we’ve turned down interviews that have offered us tens of thousands of pounds.”

Despite wanting to keep their budding romance under the radar, the documentary-maker confessed she’s very happy.

‘What I am happy to say is Kev’s amazing, I’m happy, life happens, I’ve got an amazing career and I’m very lucky.’