Entertainment TV Little Britain pulled from streaming services over blackface, Cops cancelled

Little Britain pulled from streaming services over blackface, Cops cancelled

Little Britain blackface
Little Britain has been pulled from UK streaming services over its blackface content. Creators Matt Lucas, Left, and David Walliams, right, with Rob Brydon. Photo: BBC
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British sketch comedy Little Britain has been pulled from all UK streaming platforms for its use of blackface. It was also removed from Australian provider Stan on Wednesday afternoon.

The news comes at the same as US real-life show Cops is cut, after some 30-plus years on air. Paramount Network said it had “current or future plans for it to return”.

Both come in the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement.

BBC, which owns two streaming platforms, confirmed to the Daily Mail that it removed Little Britain from its content library as “times have changed”.

The 2003-born sketch show stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams portraying several different characters, some of who are of different skin colours – including Lucas’ character Ting Tong, a Thai bride, and Walliams’ Desiree DeVere, who he plays in full blackface.

“There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review,” a BBC spokesperson said.

“Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.”

Netflix in the UK also removed the show, and its follow-up Come Fly With Me, in which Lucas played two ethnic characters in blackface. Both were available on Nine-owned Stan on Wednesday morning, but disappeared by the afternoon. The New Daily has contacted Stan for comment.

Lucas as Taaj in Come Fly With Me.

Lucas has previously said he regrets some of the characters he and his comedic partner created.

“If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites,” he said in 2017, referring to their “I’m a lady” characters Emily Florence (Walliams) and Florence (Lucas), which has drawn ire in the past.

Lucas, left, and Walliams, right, were criticised for their portrayal of transvestites. Photo: BBC

“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.

“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.

“Now I think it’s lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters. My aim is to entertain, I don’t have any other agenda.”