An actor who played the Tombibloo 'Eee' in the BBC's Bafta-award winning In The Night Garden yesterday admitted calling the gay actor playing Tombliboo 'Ooo' (right) a 'faggot' and a 'bitch' but denied her comments were homophobic.

Eliza Laghi, colleague of sacked actor Isaac Blake, told an employment tribunal she called Mr Blake a 'bitch' after he stormed off set during an argument and labelled him a 'faggot' while in the changing rooms with the third Tombibloo 'Unn'.

Ragdoll Productions, based in Stratford has denied unfair dismissal.

Isaac Blake, 28, was sacked from the popular BBC children's TV show and claims he was unfairly dismissed from his role as 'Ooo' on the show for voicing health and safety concerns.

He also claims the production company, Ragdoll, did not investigate his allegations of verbal abuse relating to his sexual orientation.

But 31-year-old Ms Laghi, who played the yellow and pink Tombibloo, says she was never forced to work under dangerous conditions and only used the word "faggot" as a joke.

Ms Laghi, a trained acrobat from a circus background, told an employment tribunal she often had problems with the camera feed in her suit but at no point was her safety put at risk.

On the second day of the tribunal, in Birmingham, she admitted to calling Mr Blake a "bitch" but said it was because he stormed off set during an argument and not because he is gay.

Ms Laghi said she used the word "faggot" when Mr Blake was in the changing room with the third Tombibloo who was referred to as Andy.

She said: "I recall one occasion when I used the word "faggot" but it was not during an argument or in an abusive way.

"Isaac and Andy looked funny when they were in the changing room together with their trousers down. I said they looked like a couple of faggots and they both laughed.

"I was absolutely astonished when it transpired that he had made a complaint of homophobic abuse."

Ms Laghi said she was then warned by Ragdoll about her use of language.

She added that she often had problems with her costume but it did not put her in danger.

For Ragdoll, Marcus Difelice said Mr Blake had made inappropriate remarks of a sexual nature to colleagues. He told the tribunal how Mr Blake had asked a male colleague to come to work in shorts for his "pleasure" and referred to them as "totty".

In a written statement, colleague Jake Rawlings said: "Isaac was making comments that were not acceptable. He would say I was "hanging" differently today or I was looking "big" today. I said to him; 'Why can't you have a conversation with me without looking at my crotch?'"

Mr Difelice added: "You said nothing was done when you complained, when in fact you were treated no differently to anyone else when you raised an issue."

The hearing continues.