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Week seven of the hit Channel 4 baking show airs tonight and contestants will be tasked with creating culinary treats inspired by the Eighties. Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith will judge their take on a quiche, custard donuts and ice cream cakes. Co-host Matt Lucas hit the headlines this weekend over his most recent impersonation of Mr Johnson. In the video, posted to Twitter, he joked about the coronavirus briefing’s start time alteration – when the leader announced the nation’s second lockdown.
Matt was announced as the replacement for ex-host Sandi Toksvig in March after his future co-star Noel Fielding suggested he could be a good fit to the Bake Off team.
The comedian revealed that Noel dreamed about their partnership but joked that he forgot to mention that part to producers.
The former Little Britain star came under fire in June, alongside David Walliams, over sketches that used black face in their show Little Britain.
The TV show was taken off streaming site UKTV and the stars pointed to their previous apologies over their portrayals on the programme.
Since then, Matt has been scrutinised for his impersonation of Mr Johnson in Bake Off’s opening scene – which sparked 339 complaints to the regulator Ofcom.
Additional complaints were made after the star made sexual innuendos on the show, which some branded “smutty” and “disgusting” on Twitter.
He was not the only star to come under fire after Paul said rainbow bagels reminded him of the NHS – infuriating some because he did not mention the LGBTQ+ community’s rainbow flag.
The complaints came before Matt’s new portrayal of Mr Johnson on Saturday, which has been liked 46,000 since it was posted and seemed to split the public.
One user wrote: “Brilliant. More please. We need you to help us laugh our way through.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “From a bloke who commentates on cake making.”
In a 2017 interview with The Big Issue, Matt addressed his portrayals of the past and admitted he would change how he acted on Little Britain if it was remade.
He said: “If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play black characters.
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“Basically, I wouldn’t make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now.”
Some viewers were outraged that despite his claim, Matt and David continued to portray transvestites during BBC’s The Big Night In, which aired in April.
Pink News journalist Emma Powys Maurice wrote: “At the crux of the joke is Walliams’ portrayal of Emily Howard, a transvestite who desperately attempts – and fails – to pass as a high-society lady.”
In his 2017 comments, Matt said that “society has moved on”, admitted his “own views have evolved” and adamantly maintained there was “no bad intent” behind the comedy series.
He added: “The only thing you could accuse us of was greed. We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play.
“Now I think it’s lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters. My aim is to entertain, I don’t have any other agenda.
“And as I’ve got older, I’ve become more empathetic, I care more about hurting people. I’ve only met Gary Barlow a few times, but I’ve apologised every time.”
Great British Bake Off will air at 8pm tonight on Channel 4.
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