William Shatner has been forced to apologise to the Devon town of Ilfracombe, after describing it as being "laced with prostitution." The 81 year-old former Star Trek star made the comments whilst he was a guest host on the Bbc's satirical news quiz Have I Got News For You, on May 28, 2012. Shatner mentioned the town, as the Olympic torch was scheduled to pass through.
Panellist Charlie Brooker joked with Shatner, when the veteran actor pronounced the name of the town wrong. Brooker remarked that it sounded "deeply sexual" and shortly afterwards, Shatner made the comment about prostitution, to which Brooker joked "that will be their new slogan now." Paul Merton added "you try and buy a stick of rock there." Paul Crabb, one of Ilfracombe's councillors, learned of some the local residents' disgust and wrote to Shatner, via his agent, according to The Telegraph. In the letter, he reportedly wrote "As Captain James T Kirk, Mr Shatner has been to places where no man has gone before, however, the episode of Hignfy clearly shows he has never been to Ilfracombe. If he came we could show him that there is no prostitution in Ilfracombe and that it is a lovely coastal town with spectacular scenery and a close community."
In a comic response, Shatner wrote back to the councilor, saying "In any event, my apologies for having singled out Ilfracombe as a potential haven for prostitution. With you overseeing, I am sure that will not happen."