Little Britain removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox
EXCLUSIVE: Little Britain has be
EXCLUSIVE: Little Britain has been removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox amid concerns that the use of blackface characters on the series is no longer acceptable
- The show's creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas said in 2017 they would 'definitely do [the show] differently' in today’s cultural landscape
- Lucas said it was ‘lazy’ for white people to ‘get a laugh just by playing black characters’
- He added there had not been ‘bad intent there’ and they had simply been showing off about ‘what a diverse bunch of people we could play'
In an apparent reaction to the Black Lives Matter protests, Netflix pulled the Matt Lucas, 46, and David Walliams, 48, series on Friday, along with the pair’s other comedy Come Fly With Me.
Then yesterday the BBC and BritBox both confirmed they had also decided to remove Little Britain saying ‘times have changed’ since the show first aired.
Little Britain EXCLUSIVE: Show has removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox amid concerns that the use of blackface characters on the series is no longer acceptable
Stereotypes: Lucas played coffee shop worker Precious Little in Come Fly With Me
The two shows include scenes where the comedians portray characters from different ethnic backgrounds with the use of make-up.
Friday’s decision by Netflix to remove the two series sparked anger from subscribers to the service, who were annoyed when they discovered the two shows had been dropped.
But the company is understood to have believed it was the right thing to do.
Those angered by the move said they were ‘fuming’ and ‘gutted’ at the decision. Some viewers complained they were in the middle of watching the series. One viewer said people should be able to make their ‘own choices’.
Change of heart: The show's creators David Walliams and Matt Lucas said in 2017 they would 'definitely do [the show] differently' in today’s cultural landscape (pictured in 2008)
But others have expressed growing unease about watching sketches which featured the comedians wearing make up to portray different races, amid claims it was offensive. One viewer said they were ‘shocked’ that it had been available.
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 BBC’s iPlayer was airing the first series of Little Britain which included a scene where the pair were made-up to look like blackface entertainers. But has now taken the series down.
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.’
Different views: Twitter was divided in its reaction to the decision to remove the show
BritBox, the streaming service from ITV and the BBC, which had been showing three series of Little Britain, has now also removed the show.
It said last night: ‘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.’
There had been a mixed reaction at the weekend to Netflix’s move.
One wrote on Twitter: ‘Absolutely furious that Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have been taken off Netflix.’
Another said: ‘Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have both been removed from Netflix….so now I can’t watch these shows because you don’t like it?
‘I want to live in a free country and make my own choices. Not an oppressive regime where I’m told what I can and can’t watch.’
But another viewer said on Friday: ‘I’m guilty for watching Little Britain and Come Fly With Me and looking past the black face but we all must face up and accept this was unacceptable and it’s still shown on Netflix.’
Another person speaking at the end of last week told Netflix: ‘Take Little Britain down. Please do not endorse a show which perpetuates stereotypes of minority groups and makes a laughing stock of people who have to fight for basic equality within life.’
This comes after comedian Leigh Francis tearfully apologised for impersonating black stars on his show Bo’ Selecta. He said he had been thinking about his Channel 4 show and had not realised at the time how offensive it was.
Matt Lucas has previously said if he could go back and remake the previous series of Little Britain he would not play black characters.
In 2017 he told Big Issue: ‘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.’
He added there had not been ‘bad intent there’ and they had simply been showing off about ‘what a diverse bunch of people we could play.’
In the interview Lucas said it was ‘lazy’ for white people to ‘get a laugh just by playing black characters’.
David Walliams also said that the show would definitely make a comeback but acknowledged he would change things.
He said: 'I would say there will definitely be some more Little Britain coming. I can’t say when exactly but at the right time and place. It was fun coming back for radio because that’s where we started.'
He added that he would 'definitely do it differently' in today’s cultural landscape.
The decision comes as Netflix was earlier this year said to have been in discussions with Lucas and Walliams about making a newseries of Little Britain for the streaming giant, in a lucrative deal.
MailOnline has contacted a spokesperson for Walliams and Lucas for further comment.
Debate: Lucas played airport worker Taaj in BBC's Come Fly With Me and some have expressed unease about watching sketches which feature the comedians wearing make up to portray different races