The 57-year-old quickly apologised after dropping the embarrassing gaffe while interviewing former jockey John Francome and rising star Lizzie Kelly on BBC Radio 5 live.

Inverdale had just begun to utter the phrase ‘rose-coloured glasses’ when he made a split-second decision to swap horses in mid-stream and go for the more traditional ‘rose-tinted glasses’ instead. The result was a portmanteau beyond Lewis Carroll’s wildest dreams as the hapless presenter ended up referring to “rose-c**ted glasses.”

The classic howler was teed up by Francome, who had reflected on his racing career by saying: “You get wet, you’re mucking out, and it’s hard work. But through all of that it’s a way of life, that most of them wouldn’t swap. A lot of people go off and do other things and then come back to it.”

To which Inverdale replied: “This is looking at it through rose-c**ted – rose-tinted glasses from the past…I apologise there for a slip of the tongue, but Lizzie your love of the sport just shines through.”

A BBC spokesman said later: “It was a slip of the tongue and John apologised immediately afterwards.”

It’s the latest in a series of uncharacteristic blunders from the usually smooth-tongued Inverdale. He faced a barrage of criticism during the BBC’s Wimbledon coverage in 2013 when he said that newly crowned ladies’ champion Marion Bartoli was “never going to be a looker.”

Inverdale made more headlines during coverage of last year’s French Open tennis tournament when he told former world number one Jim Courier that the past participle of ‘tweet’ was “t**t”.

But Inverdale shared his nightmare day with another top BBC presenter – controversial Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson was suspended by the corporation for his involvement in a “fracas” with a producer. This week’s edition of Top Gear has been shelved, and the 54-year-old’s future has been placed in serious doubt after more than 26 years on the show.

You can hear John Inverdale’s latest gaffe here