The word “p***ter” was given as one of the contestant’s answers, with the seven-letter answer featuring on the broadcast uncensored.
Viewers complained about the moment on social media, with many suggesting that the moment should have been replaced or edited out.
“Sorry to go serious on something quite trivial,” tweeted journalist Scott Bryan, “but as someone who was called a ‘p***ter’ by homophobes on a daily basis, why on earth is Countdown allowing it to be said cheerfully as an answer on daytime television?”
Novelist and Pointless presenter Richard Osman argued that it would have been prudent to re-shoot the clip with a different answer.
“Yes, I think, the contestant was embarrassed to be saying it,” he wrote on Twitter. “But in that situation, the easy solution is to all agree he scored seven points and to retake with a different answer.
“We’ve done that a couple of times with ‘correct’ answers.”
In a statement, the broadcaster said: “The airing of the word was an error of judgement.
“It does not align with our values and we apologise for any offence caused.”
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