Little Britain Removed from BBC iPlayer and Netflix Over Use of Blackface

Little Britain, a British sketch comedy show, has been removed from BBC iPlayer, BritBox and Netflix due to its use of blackface.

The show which first aired on the BBC in 2003, saw comedians David Walliams and Matt Lucas wear women's clothes and facial hair, with Desiree DeVere, a black woman played by Walliams in full blackface.

Walliams also dressed up to play passenger liaison officer Moses Beacon and airline boss Omar Baba in In Come Fly With Me, which launched in 2010. Lucas also played the role of a Thai bride Ting Tong.

Come Fly With Me has also been taken down from Netflix.

Following Black Lives Matter protests in cities across the world after the death of George Floyd and a renewed focus on racial equality, the show has once again faced criticism over its use of blackface and racial stereotyping.

Floyd died while a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck as he pleaded for his life, with "I can't breathe" in his last words.

Little Britain blackface
Little Britain is no longer of BBC iPlayer after the use of blackface BBC

A spokesperson for the BBC said in a statement: "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."

The spokesperson also said that Come Fly With Me was not available on iPlayer, contrary to earlier reports.

BritBox said: "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."

Lucas has previously expressed his regret about some of the characters in the Little Britain show. During a 2017 interview with the Big Issue, he said it was "lazy" 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."

A spokesperson for Netflix told the Guardian that it had "no comment but can confirm that we removed both titles on Friday last week."

It comes as London Mayor Sadiq Khan launched a review into all statues in the capital for their links to slavery, with the hope of removing those found to be involved in the slave trade.