David Walliams and Matt Lucas, the creators of the BBC-produced show Little Britain, who are white, have apologized for their prior use of blackface sketches, saying they now “regret” playing characters of other races.
The offensive BBC-produced shows were removed from the services’ libraries. Its follow-up, Come Fly With Me, was also taken down by the services.
“There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review,” said a BBC statement. “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 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 has admitted it held talks with Lucas and Walliams over reviving the show before the controversy over its prior content emerged.
Walliams 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.”