Little Britain was was temporarily removed from BBC iPlayer in 2020 (Picture: BBC)
A controversial Little Britain sketch has been branded ‘explicitly racist and outdated’, and people are surprised the episode is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.
Since its original run, the comedy series which starred David Walliams and Matt Lucas has received criticism from some quarters for its use of blackface, exaggerated stereotypes, and ‘punch-down comedy’.
In 2020, the series was temporarily removed from BBC iPlayer, alongside Lucas and Walliams’ next series Come Fly With Me, after a content ‘review’.
In research conducted by Ofcom, the regulator showed people a number of clips of television as part of a study on potentially offensive content across linear TV and streaming services.
One sketch from Little Britain shows former Britain’s Got Talent judge Walliams as university employee Linda Flint describing an Asian student, Kenneth Lao, over the phone to her manager.
He is described as having ‘yellowish skin, slight smell of soy sauce … the ching-chong China man.’
Matt Lucas starred as a ‘Thai bride’ called Ting Tong (Credits: BBC PICTURE ARCHIVES)
According to the report, the research participants viewed the content as ‘explicitly racist and outdated, and felt that society had moved on.’
It added: ‘A few participants said they found it funny but seemed embarrassed to say this and could recognise why it would be offensive.
‘This content was not considered acceptable for linear TV and many were surprised that it was available on BBC iPlayer.’
The report continued: ‘Others thought a VoD (video on demand) platform was appropriate because it meant viewers could have the choice about whether to watch the content or not.
Both Matt and David apologised over the use of blackface in Little Britain(Picture Instagram)
‘However, they did not think the current rating was enough, wanting a warning about the racist language and an explanation for why it was still accessible. For some, the content was considered too problematic, even for VoD.’
Both Walliams and Lucas apologised over the use of blackface in their show, which started as a radio comedy in 2000 before launching on BBC Three.
In a joint statement in June 2020, they said: ‘Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong; we are very sorry.’
Matt also said he had many regrets about Little Britain, admitting it was ‘cruel’.
‘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 told Big Issue.
Metro.co.uk has reached out to BBC for comment.
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David Walliams and Matt Lucas previously apologised over the use of blackface.