Wimbledon women's final
John Inverdale remarked that Marion Bartoli, right, was "no looker" during her victory over Sabine Lisicki in the final at Wimbledon.

Culture secretary Maria Miller has written to BBC director-general Lord Hall to demand action over sexist comments by radio commentator John Inverdale during the Wimbledon women's final.

Inverdale, 55, has since apologised for his "clumsy and ham-fisted" remarks, in which he said winner Marion Bartoli was "never going to be a looker". His comment prompted more than 700 complaints.

Miller told Hall: "It is a matter of some concern to me that any comment on the looks and stature of a female athlete could be made in the context of one of the highlights of the UK's, and indeed the world's, sporting calendar."

She called on the BBC to make its sports coverage more inclusive of women, and asked Hall to provide her with "an update on any further action that is likely to be taken".

She wrote: "It is vital that young women and girls feel motivated both to take part in and to watch coverage of sport, and to know that they are included in the enjoyment of sport and catered for by the media just as much as the male audience."

She called on the director-general to consider "whether there may be positive steps that the BBC could take in the future to ensure that the perception of and commentary on female athletes, and women's sport generally, are as positive and inclusive as possible."

Earlier this month, covering the Wimbledon women's final, Inverdale said of Bartoli: "I just wonder if her dad did say to her when she was 12, 13, 14 maybe: Listen, you are never going to be, you know, a looker.

"You are going to have to be the most dogged, determined fighter that anyone has ever seen on the tennis court if you are going to make it. And she kind of is."

Inverdale, who is believed to earn about £600,000 a year, faced immediate calls for his resignation, but held on to his job after writing a letter of apology to Bartoli and making an on-air apology the day after the final.

Judy Murray, mother of men's singles champion Andy Murray, called Inverdale's remark a "huge gaffe".

It is not the first time Inverdale, who is due is to be replaced as the BBC's main athletics presenter by Gabby Logan, has landed himself in hot water with ill-advised comments.

In an interview with the Queen's niece, Zara Philips, several years ago, he alluded to a horse Princess Anne had ridden when she won the European Championship in 1971, asking if anyone could remember the horse's name.

When no answer was forthcoming, he ventured: "Camilla."

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC has made clear that John Inverdale's comments were unacceptable and fell well beneath the standards expected of our presenters.

"John sincerely regrets that he made such an inappropriate statement and for the offence caused."

Miller's said she was boycotting the Open golf championship at Muirfield in Scotland because the club refuses to admit women members. The Open begins today - with BBC coverage fronted by Inverdale.