Little Britain removed from streaming services over blackface controversy

10 June 2020, 15:35 | Updated: 10 June 2020, 15:58

Little Britain has been removed from streaming services amid Anti-racism movement
Little Britain has been removed from streaming services amid Anti-racism movement. Picture: PA Images

British comedy show Little Britain has been taken down from several streaming services following blackface backlash.

Little Britain has been removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Britbox in light of anti-racism. All streaming services agreed the use of blackface is not acceptable. 

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This comes as a result to the Black Lives Matter movement tackling racism, injustice and inequality of black people. Many companies have been called out for their participation in perpetuating racism or offensive content regarding minorities.

Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ problematic sketch show was one of many that perpetuated damaging stereotypes, stemming from racism, sexism, gender inequality and class.

The first episode of the show aired in 2003, until the official series end date in 2007. However, there have been several one-off specials over the years, one of which was earlier this year.

Little Britain's first episode aired in February 2003
Little Britain's first episode aired in February 2003. Picture: PA images

According to Metro, On Friday (Jun 5) Netflix made the first move by taking down the series, while iPlayer and Britbox have now taken it down, also banning the duo’s Come Fly With Me. 

In Come Fly With Me, Lucas and Walliams wore brown make up for playing several characters including airport worker - Taaj, passenger liaison officer - Moses Beacon, and airline boss - Omar Baba.

Walliams also starred as health-spa snob called Desiree Devere in Little Britain. 

Many critiques have called out the shows for their highly offensive content
Many critiques have called out the shows for their highly offensive content. Picture: PA

A spokesperson from 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.’

Britbox added:

‘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.’

Lucas has previously admitted Little Britain aged terribly, and made it clear that if the show was making a return, he would never play a black character again.

Matt Lucas and David Walliams have both addressed the offensive content in Little Britain
Matt Lucas and David Walliams have both addressed the offensive content in Little Britain. Picture: Getty

During an 2017 interview with Big Issue, he said "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."

In a 2018 interview with Radio Times, Walliams claimed that if Little Britain was to make a return, it would have to be different.

Walliams revealed "You’d definitely do it differently because it’s a different time now,"

He continued, "It’s hard to say specifically how it would be different. There’s all kinds of tolerances that change. People understand people’s predicaments more now. Maybe it’s, “we see this differently, we’ve got more information,” and it would be a different type of joke."

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