Little Britain removed from BBC iPlayer and Netflix amid blackface controversy

BBC / Little Britain

It’s been revealed that Little Britain has been removed from streaming / on demand services amid growing controversies over the show’s use of blackface for characters.

The Daily Mail has announced today that BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox are amongst the broadcasters to have removed the classic 00s comedy sketch programme from their show roster.

It’s believed to be a response to recent heavy criticism amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Little Britain, created by and staring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, ran on the BBC from 2003 – 2005 and developed a cult fan base whilst on air.

The pair’s other show Come Fly With Me has also been removed.

In Little Britain, David Walliams regularly wore make up to play health-spa guest Desiree DeVere and in Come Fly With Me, he played ‘passenger liaison officer’ Moses Beacon and airline boss Omar Baba. Matt Lucas also famously played characters including coffee shop worker Precious Little and airport worker Taaj on the airline comedy sketch show.

Calls to remove both of the shows from streaming / on demand services began gaining a wide amount of traction on social media platforms last week.

A spokesperson for 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.”

On its decision to remove the shows, 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.”

Matt Lucas has previously spoken out about the show’s use of blackface in an interview with Big Issue back in 2017 and told the publication that he believed it was “lazy” for white people to “get a laugh just by playing black characters”.

He said: “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.”

He also added that there was no “bad intent there” and they had simply been showing off about “what a diverse bunch of people we could play”.

David Walliams has also previously acknowledged in a past interview that he would “definitely do [things] differently” in today’s cultural landscape if the shows were to ever be revived.

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