Christopher Biggins’ Jewish agent has jumped to defence of the veteran entertainer after he was kicked out of Celebrity Big Brother for offensive remarks – including a Nazi gas chamber jibe aimed at Jewish contestant Katie Waissel.
The 67-year-old appeared in Saturday night’s episode, before his removal from the house for “comments capable of causing great offence to housemates and the viewing public” – which included a slur against people with AIDS.
In a statement, the Channel 5 reality TV show stressed: “Big Brother does not tolerate offensive language capable of causing widespread offence”.
Biggins told Jewish News: “I am mortified by what I said. It was a stupid thing to do and I truly regret it. I apologised to Katie straight away and we cleared the air, but I’d also like to apologise to the wider Jewish community.”
Admitting that the remark was about the Nazis and gas chambers, he said: “I suppose I was, yes. But it didn’t occur to me that’s what I was referring to.”
Biggins said he had said sorry to Katie in person after being given a warning by Big Brother, and was sorry for his “trite, ridiculous remark”.
Showbiz agent Jonathan Shalit, who represents Biggins, told Jewish News: “I have been close friends and worked with Biggins for many years and can confirm that he would never intentionally cause offence. If something was said in jest which caused offence then I am certain that was not his intention. Biggins is a much loved and wonderful man.”
Sun on Sunday reports that Biggins made a joke about Nazi gas chambers in front of Waissel, reducing the former X Factor star to tears. While waiting to use the bathroom, he joked: “You had better be careful or they will put you in a shower or take you to a room.” This incident was referred to on Saturday’s show, but not broadcast by Channel 5.
Viewers watched Biggins have a prophetic conversation with Grant Bovey – who became the first housemate evicted by public vote on Friday – about struggling to control what he says. Bovey said: “I’ve just become really analytical of my actions and my words.” Biggins replied: “I’ve made three mistakes in here so I’ve been chastised so I’ve become very aware and careful.”
In Saturday’s episode, Big Brother gathered the housemates at the sofas to inform them that Biggins has been removed from the house and will not be returning. EastEnders actor Ricky Norwood and Whale are left to pack Biggins’ belongings in his case. Fox is seen crying, saying: “I can’t believe it, I’m upset.” Norwood said the decision is “not right”.