Little Britain Pulled By Netflix, BritBox, BBC iPlayer Over Blackface

During a time of global protest against the killing of George Floyd and to raise awareness of police brutality against the Black community, streamers Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and BritBox have removed BBC comedy series Little Britain from their services over the use of blackface in several sketches. Netflix also dropped the follow-up series, airport mockumentary Come Fly With Me (which hasn't been available on BritBox for six months). In a statement to Variety, a BBC spokesperson 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."

Written by and starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, Little Britain started in 2003 and ran for three seasons, with Come Fly With Me debuting in 2010. Both series featured Lucas and Walliams portraying characters from various ethnic backgrounds by using make-up. Some of the characters being called into question and the reason for the series' removal include Lucas and Walliams' Come Fly With Me characters, including airport worker Taaj, passenger liaison officer Moses Beacon, airline head Omar Baba, and cafe worker Precious Little.

One has to wonder if the news comes as that big of a surprise to Lucas, who admitted during a 2017 interview with Big Issue magazine that he couldn't see himself making 2003 Little Britain in then-current times because of the type of comedy they were doing back then: "I wouldn't make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I'd do now. Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved. There was no bad intent there – the only thing you could accuse us of was greed. We just wanted to show off about what a diverse bunch of people we could play."

About Ray Flook

Serving as Television Editor since 2018, Ray began five years earlier as a contributing writer/photographer before being brought on board as staff in 2017.

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