London: BBC has apologised after a radio DJ began playing the national anthem and then joked on air that Queen Elizabeth II has died.
Danny Kelly told up to a quarter of a million listeners that he had some "astonishing news" and then said: "Queen Elizabeth II has now died."
Producer Mark Newman jumped in within seconds, telling him: "You can't say that."
Kelly said he was talking about a 'friend' on his show's Facebook page who went by the name 'Queen Elizabeth II', but who was no longer on the site, Daily Mail reported Tuesday.
The incident took place when Kelly was half-way through his two-hour afternoon show on the local BBC WM station.
Kelly's remark was "incredibly ill-conceived", said Vivianne Patterson, chairman of radio and television watchdog Mediawatch, adding: "It's a bit sick actually. I think because it's the Queen and they treated it like a big announcement it makes things worse."
"It's the BBC we are talking about here and there's a certain expectation from them. The use of the national anthem is a problem here as well - I really think it's pushing things."
A BBC spokesman was quoted as saying: "We can confirm that Danny Kelly made an inappropriate remark about the Queen during his radio show on BBC WM. Although made as part of a light-hearted piece about social media friends, and corrected on air immediately after it was made, this comment was entirely inappropriate and the BBC apologises unreservedly for it. There was no intention to offend."
"BBC WM takes these comments very seriously. Action is being taken."