© Doug Peters - EMPICS Entertainment Bill Oddie
British families should be "contained" to stop them having too many children, Bill Oddie has said.
The Springwatch presenter claimed the answer to over-population was not curbing immigration, but restricting the size of families.
Oddie made his comments on BBC One's Sunday Morning Live during a debate entitled: "Is the UK too hostile to immigration?"
The 73-year-old former member of The Goodies said: "There should just as likely be a restriction on the number of children that British people have because over-population is what you are talking about here, the big problem.
"So you say these perfectly well-qualified people can't come in, but the woman down the road has just had her 10th baby. Well I'm sorry, but they are the people that really should be contained. It would make a difference." Oddie has three daughters from two marriages and lives in Hampstead, north London, with his wife, Laura Beaumont.
Earlier in the programme he claimed he was "ashamed" to be British. He said: "Historically, we seem to have built up this ridiculous idea that, 'Oh, we are British, this is our island and we don't want anybody else in it.'
"I personally loathe that kind of chauvinism and I'm happy to say I'm not proud to be British. In fact, I'm very often ashamed to be British. We are a terrible race, all the hooliganism and God knows what."
Challenged by the presenter, Sian Williams, to leave Britain if he didn’t like it, he replied: "You don't leave it, you're talking like Ukip or something. For God's sake, shut up!
"What I'm saying is that without a doubt during my lifetime I've seen the whole culture absolutely burgeon because of immigrants.
"I love the fact that I walk down the road in north London, and down here's an Indian shop, and there's another Indian stationers there, and this one is run by someone from Iran, and there's a West Indian guy who runs that bit, and we've got the Romanian builders next door who don't play the radio as loud as English builders." Dozens of viewers used Twitter to criticise Oddie, accusing him of "demonising" the British working class. One tweeted: "Bill Oddie seems to have got trapped in his millionaire liberal bubble. Clearly doesn't need to compete for social housing or a job."
Another wrote: "Bill Oddie, have you just implied working-class people are over-breeding and should be contained, demonisation."
Alp Mehmet, the vice-chairman of Migration Watch UK, said: "I'm surprised that someone as wise and decent as Bill Oddie is coming up with that sort of nonsense," he said.
"He's right, population levels are increasing, but that is largely driven by immigration, not large British families. The fact is we can control and are controlling immigration and we should continue to be aiming in that direction, rather than going down the Chinese route of limiting the number of children people can have."