Cable television network HBO apologised on Thursday amid outrage for featuring a severed head resembling former President George W Bush in a scene in its fantasy drama “Game of Thrones".

“We were deeply dismayed to see this and find it unacceptable, disrespectful and in very bad taste,” Home Box Office said, blaming executive producers of the series for an “inadvertent careless mistake".

“We are sorry this happened.”

The likeness of the presidential noggin appears for just a second with others impaled atop a row of stakes in an episode in the first season aired last year in which young tyrant King Joffrey displayed the head of executed Ned Stark, played by Sean Bean, to his daughter, Sansa.

The show's creators David Benioff and DB Weiss recently drew attention to it in a commentary for the DVD.

“It's not a choice, it's not a political statement. We just had to use whatever heads we had lying around,” they said.

“We use a lot of prosthetic body parts on the show: heads, arms, etcetera. We can't afford to have these all made from scratch, especially in scenes where we need a lot of them, so we rent them in bulk. After the scene was already shot, someone pointed out that one of the heads looked like George W Bush.

“We meant no disrespect to the former president and apologise if anything we said or did suggested otherwise.”

HBO said the scene would be removed from future DVD production. - Sapa-AFP