On Friday both “Little Britain” and “Come Fly With Me”, two BBC series created by and starring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, were removed from Netflix without any prior warning. They were also removed from BBC iPlayer and BritBox. At the time the general consensus was due to the racist tones of the blackface used in many of the sketches and the BBC have now confirmed that this is the case stating that “times have changed”.
“Little Britain” first aired in 2003 and was a comedy sketch show that poked fun a wide range of people including black people, transvestites, disabled people and Thai brides. The follow on series, “Come Fly With Me”, took a similar approach albeit set in an airport. Both Lucas and Walliams have previously stated that they regret creating many of the characters and would not do them now.
“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.” – Matt Lucas (2017, The Big Issue)
Given the current worldwide protests for #BlackLivesMatter it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that they were removed. Similarly, Channel 4’s “Bo Selecta” has also been removed from All 4 after the show’s creator, Leigh Francis, issued a tearful apology saying “Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo’ Selecta, I portrayed many black people. Back then I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything, I’m not going to blame other people … I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then.”