Little Britain has been removed from all UK streaming platforms due to concerns about the use of blackface by its two stars, David Walliams and Matt Lucas. The comedy sketch show, which first aired in 2003 on BBC Three, has been removed from Netflix, BritBox and BBC iPlayer – with the pair’s follow up, Come Fly With Me, also taken down by Netflix for the same reason.
It wasn’t just racist. As Matt Lucas admitted a few years ago, the whole programme was “cruel” and wouldn’t be made today. It traded in lazy stereotypes: shirkers pretending to be disabled, shrieking fat women, deluded transvestites, Thai brides and other tabloid targets. Defenders claim it was satire, but it was nothing of the sort. It was an extended exercise in punching down, its catchphrases shouted at minorities in the street.
The usual grifters are claiming terrible censorship, and they’re much more outraged about this than they are about, say, racism or police brutality. But despite their claims of a ban, nobody is stopping them from watching it: it’s still available on pay-per-download. And of course, they can buy it on DVD and rack it next to their box sets of Love Thy Neighbour.
Update, 12 June:
The Sun appears to be driving a false narrative that Black Lives Matter protesters are demanding the removal of endless other TV shows. They aren’t. There is no “furious race row” over Gavin And Stacey, but there is a pretty transparent attempt by the Murdoch press to delegitimise protests against racism by pretending they’re about trivia.