BBC Scotland has cancelled the appearance of a criminal who taught his dog to perform the Nazi salute following a public outcry.

Mark Meechan, who was convicted of a “grossly offensive” hate crime last year, was set to co-star in a programme on the broadcaster’s new digital channel.

The 31-year-old, who appears on the YouTube website and is known as Count Dankula, was set to appear on a panel show but campaigners branded the move “absolutely sickening”. He caused controversy when he uploaded a video to YouTube showing his girlfriend’s pug dog doing the Sieg Heil salute alongside obscene Nazi imagery.

The blogger, from Coatbridge, North Lanarkshire, also chanted variations of the phrase “gas the Jews”, repeating the slur more than 0 times in a few minutes. 

Read more: Mark Meechan given £800 fine for hate crime after filming pug giving 'Nazi salutes'

Meechan told his social media followers last week he was still refusing to pay the £800 fine handed to him by a judge at Airdrie Sheriff Court .

Then it emerged he was going to star alongside reality TV personality James English and Edinburgh-based dominatrix Megara Furie on the new channel.

Lawyer and Glasgow Friends of Israel member Matthew Berlow said he could not believe Meechan was to appear.
He said: ‘It is absolutely sickening and disgusting. Anti-Semitism is a very difficult subject but we Jews know what it looks and feels like.”

Scottish Conservative shadow culture secretary, Rachael Hamilton, said that the Corporation needed to reconsider its decision:: “The promotion of this individual in any BBC programme would seem to be entirely against the BBC charter. If BBC Scotland wants to retain the goodwill of its many audiences it really should reconsider this decision.”

The BBC initially said: “We had a broad range of contributors in for the recording of a new late night format in which a wide variety of issues are debated and opinions are challenged. The production is in the edit, where the content of the programme will be decided, subject to the BBC’s robust editorial review and compliance procedures.”

But in a U-turn, yesterday said: “We have been reviewing our new late-night discussion programme The Collective during the edit process.

“As with all new formats, robust editorial processes apply. In this case we have concluded it’s not appropriate to include Mark Meechan as a contributor. The two programmes in which he featured will not be broadcast as part of any series.”