Netflix, the BBC and BritBox UK have all removed Little Britain from their libraries after the Matt Lucas and David Walliams sketch show featured blackface sketches.
Netflix pulled the BBC Studios-produced program and its follow-up Come Fly With Me on Friday, while the BBC and BritBox took action this week following days of protests across the world in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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.”
Little Britain ran for three seasons on the BBC beginning in 2003, and included a character called Desiree DeVere, a black woman played by Walliams in full blackface. Lucas played a black cafe worker in Come Fly With Me named Precious Little — again in full blackface.
Netflix held talks with Lucas and Walliams over reviving the show. “We had a conversation with them a while ago and so the seed was planted in our head. We’d love to bring it back in some way and at some point,” Lucas said.
He has spoken in the past about how a revival would not revisit more controversial characters. “If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play black characters,” he told the Big Issue. “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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