Channel 5 has removed an episode of Fireman Sam from its online streaming service, after the animated children's programme appeared to show a character treading on pages of the Quran.
HIT Entertainment, the producer of the programme, last night issued an unreserved apology, and said it was cancelling its contract with the Chinese animation studio responsible for making the scenes.
In the programme, which last aired on June 28, a character can be seen on two occasions trampling on papers that are being sorted on the floor of a fire station.
When the papers fly into the air, at least one sheet appears to be a page from the Islamic holy book.
The scenes, which were unearthed by a member of the public, led to condemnation on social networking sites.
Miqdaad Versi, Assistant Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain, wrote on Twitter: "[I] have no idea what went through the producers' minds when they thought this was a good idea."
Mr Versi identified one page as containing verses 13 to 26 of chapter 67 of the Quran, which deals with issues such as the origins of existence, and the punishments meted out to non-believers.
In a statement, HIT Entertainment, which also owns brands such as Thomas the Tank Engine and Bob the Builder, said: "It has been brought to our attention that in an episode of Fireman Sam an image of the Quran is briefly depicted. The page was intended to show illegible text and we deeply regret this error.
"We will no longer be working with the animation studio responsible for this mistake.
"In addition, we are taking immediate action to remove this episode from circulation and we are reviewing our content production procedures to ensure this never happens again."
In 2012, one of the creators of Fireman Sam, David Jones, was held at Gatwick Airport, after making a comment about a Muslim woman who was wearing a veil.