Orinocco, played by songwriter Mike Batt, removed his head during the stream on Simon Mayo’s Drivetime show during which The Wombles had performed their festive song Wombling Christmas Time. The incident prompted a flood of complaints from parents whose children had been watching and had believed the Wimbledon Common residents to be very much real. 

Batt apologised on Twitter, saying: “Oh no – they told us we were off air!!!!” The damage though, had already been done.

Peter Farland, a father-of-four who was watching the live stream with his son, told The Telegraph: “Some idiot at the BBC forgot to switch off the webcam at the end of the show and Dylan was right in front of the computer. I thought it might have been too brief for Dylan to have noticed as he went totally silent and we thought we might have got away with it.

“But then he said ‘all Wombles are fake,’ and asked to go to Wimbledon Common to see the real ones.”

The BBC though have rebuked Watt’s proclamations that the fault lies with them, a spokesman saying: “The group were fully aware that they were being filmed and had not been given the all clear that they were off the air.”