Len Goodman: ‘foreign muck’ comment on BBC Platinum Jubilee coverage explained - has he apologised?

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The former Strictly Come Dancing judge was joined by Kirsty Young and John Torode for a segment during the Platinum Jubilee coverage

Former Strictly Come Dancing judge Len Goodman has sparked backlash following comments made during the Jubilee Pageant coverage on Sunday (5 June) in which he quoted his grandmother as calling curry “foreign muck”.

His choice of words have been labelled as “xenophobic” and “racist” by viewers on social media.

This is what you need to know.

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What did Len Goodman say?

On Sunday, Goodman joined Masterchef presenter John Torode on TV screens to sample the official jubilee pudding, a lemon and amaretti trifle created by Jemma Melvin, as part of the Jubilee Pageant’s coverage.

Over the weekend a number of events were held to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne for Queen Elizabeth II.

At one point during the segment, presenter Kirsty Young asked Goodman: “Everyone is serving up different dishes at their street parties, are you a cook, Len?”

Len Goodman quoted his grandmother as calling curry and curry power as “foreign muck” (Photo: BBC)Len Goodman quoted his grandmother as calling curry and curry power as “foreign muck” (Photo: BBC)
Len Goodman quoted his grandmother as calling curry and curry power as “foreign muck” (Photo: BBC) | BBC

Goodman replied: “No, I’m hopeless, honestly. My wife did a Coronation Chicken yesterday for our tea and I’ve never had it before.”

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He added: “I’ve never had curry and curry powder, you know, my nan used to call it all “foreign muck”.

“I was always worried about it. But I must say, it was ridiculous. It was really tasty. It was so tasty. I had my first sampling of Coronation Chicken yesterday.”

Torode appeared surprised by Goodman’s comments, and Young was left silent.

What was the reaction like?

Goodman quickly began receiving criticism for his remarks online.

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Adam Schwarz, writer and political commentator, tweeted: “A dollop of old fashioned British Empire xenophobia from Len Goodman on the BBC’s jubilee coverage.”

Another person wrote: “Idea for a TV show… We send Len Goodman around the world to experience local culture and cuisine and decide if it’s “foreign muck”.”

“Len Goodman’s gran might have taken her driving test in a horse and carriage. But racism is racism, it really doesn’t become acceptable because it comes from the older generations,” wrote another.

Judge Len Goodman attends the Dancing With The Stars - 2019 top 6 finalist event, November 4, 2019, in Los Angeles (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)Judge Len Goodman attends the Dancing With The Stars - 2019 top 6 finalist event, November 4, 2019, in Los Angeles (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)
Judge Len Goodman attends the Dancing With The Stars - 2019 top 6 finalist event, November 4, 2019, in Los Angeles (Photo by VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

Referring specifically to the dish that Goodman was talking about, another user tweeted: “Someone tell Len Goodman Coronation Chicken is a British recipe, created for the coronation by two English chefs. Based on a dish created by George V in 1953 called Jubilee Chicken. Curry has been part of our national diet for 200+ years, and I’m sure even his nan isn’t that old.”

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Coronation Chicken, also known as Poulet Peine Elizabeth, was created by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume, both of the Cordon Bleu Cookery School in London.

Some came to Goodman’s defence however, with one person tweeting: “If you were as old as Len Goodman then your nan probably called it foreign muck as well. Different generations. Stop trying to out [sic] today’s values on yesterday’s people.”

Has he apologised?

Goodman himself hasn’t addressed the comment or the backlash that it has generated, but the BBC has apologised on his behalf.

Len Goodman at the HBO Luxury Lounge featuring Motorola and PANDORA Jewelry in honour of The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at The Four Seasons Hotel on September 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Todd Oren/Getty Images for Mediaplacement)Len Goodman at the HBO Luxury Lounge featuring Motorola and PANDORA Jewelry in honour of The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at The Four Seasons Hotel on September 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Todd Oren/Getty Images for Mediaplacement)
Len Goodman at the HBO Luxury Lounge featuring Motorola and PANDORA Jewelry in honour of The 65th Primetime Emmy Awards at The Four Seasons Hotel on September 21, 2013 in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Todd Oren/Getty Images for Mediaplacement) | Getty Images

Later in the broadcast, commentator Clare Balding issued an apology for “anyone who took offence” to remarks made earlier in the show.

A BBC spokesperson confirmed to the Telegraph that Balding’s apology was “related to remarks made during the section of the show” featuring Goodman in which he made his “foreign muck” statement.

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