‘Little Britain’ removed from Netflix, BBC due to blackface

British TV series’ Little Britain and Come Fly With Me have been taken down from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox due the stars use of racist tropes and blackface characters.

The program, which debuted on BBC in 2003, stars comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams features a collection of comedy sketches which sees the actors take on a number of racist and transphobic roles.

Throughout the series, Walliams can be seen in blackface as Desiree DeVere, while Lucas appears as “Thai bride” Ting Tong. The pair also take aim at trans and gender diverse folks in their ‘I’m a lady’ sketches. Both Walliams and Lucas wear blackface in Come Fly With Me.

Speaking to Variety, a spokesperson for the BBC explained the decision.

“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 the BBC iPlayer.”

In 2017, Lucas addressed the characters in an interview with 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,” Lucas 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.”

Lucas and Walliams revived the sketch show earlier this year as part of BBC’s Big Night In – where they both reprised their roles as their transphobic ‘I’m a lady’ characters.

Netflix have offered no comment on the decision, “but can confirm that we removed both titles on Friday last week.”

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