09 June 2020

Little Britain pulled from BBC iPlayer and Netflix over ‘blackface’ concerns

Little Britain has been removed from streaming sites in a move suggesting use of blackface is unacceptable in today’s world.

The show featuring comedy duo David Walliams and Matt Lucas has been removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox, along with the actors’ other comedy Come Fly With Me, according to the Daily Mail.

Walliams in black face for a character in the show (BBC)

A spokesman for the BBC said: “There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review. Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.”

While BritBox said: “Times have changed since Little Britain first aired, so it is not currently available on BritBox. Come Fly With Me has not been available on the service for six months.”

In Little Britain, David Walliams wore make up to play health-spa guest Desiree DeVere. In Come Fly With Me, he played ‘passenger liaison officer’ Moses Beacon and airline boss Omar Baba, while Lucas’ characters included coffee shop worker Precious Little.

The comedy ran on the BBC from 2003 until 2005 and Lucas and Walliams also did a short package for BBC’s recent Big Night In recently that raised money for coronavirus relief. 

Lucas has previously said if he remade Little Britain now the black characters would not be included.

He told Big Issue in 2017: "If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play black characters.

“Basically, I wouldn’t make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now.”

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