British writer/actor Stephen Merchant has apologised for poking fun at sufferers of autism in a U.K. Tv interview on Friday (25Jan13).

Ricky Gervais' comedy partner sparked complaints with his appearance on The Graham Norton Show, where the host asked if Merchant's role in new movie I Give It A Year was written specifically with him in mind.

He replied, "Yes, he wrote the role of a sort of socially autistic nerd who always says the wrong thing."

Merchant came under fire for the remark, with autism-awareness campaigner Anna Kennedy telling Britain's The Sun newspaper the comment was "disgraceful".

The 38 year old has since issued an apology, insisting, "I'm sorry if it caused offence."