According to some media reports, TV tough nut Ray Winstone’s career is fast fading with his popularity seemingly very much on the wan, and in particular his 24/7 betting channel is becoming a major casualty.

One compulsive gambling addict Steve Pembroke, told BBC News: ‘I used to tune into Ray’s channel and blow thousands of pounds that I could ill-afford by betting  all day long, such were Ray’s powers of persuasion, but just recently I’ve noticed that he is being constantly interrupted by sporting interludes and inserts.’

‘Just when I’m weighing up the form for a flutter on the 2.30 at Ascot on comes some golf, football or bloody cricket. It’s getting so bad that Ray’s show is losing all continuity and becoming almost completely unwatchable.’

But Sky TV has hit back with Speciality Programming Director, Simone de Chambonne claiming: ‘We focus-grouped Ray’s show, and although it got a healthy rating of 94% positive, we just thought we’d like to add in some sport to break it up a touch and give our viewers time for a comfort break or to go an make a cuppa.’

‘But of course with our Sky Q system if fans want to record Ray’s channel or stagger it by, say an hour or so, then they can fast forward through the boring sports bits and just concentrate on Ray as usual.’