Netflix & BritBox pull Little Britain from libraries due to blackface sketches
A few months after word broke that discussions of a revival were underway for the hit British sketch series, Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ Little Britain has been pulled from Netflix, BBC and BritBox libraries over some controversial blackface sketches, according to Deadline.
With the past two weeks seeing a wave of protests around the globe in support of Black Lives Matter following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Netflix has elected to pull the BBC Studios-produced series and its follow-up Come Fly With Me, with the BBC and BritBox following suit shortly after.
“There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review,” the BBC said in a statement. “Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.”
“Times have changed since Little Britain first aired, so it is not currently available on BritBox,” BritBox added in a separate statement. “Come Fly With Me has not been available on the service for six months.”
Lucas and Walliams previously began talks with Netflix in March regarding a possible revival of their series, with the former expressing in previous interviews his retrospective distaste for some of the jokes and characters the duo came up with.
“If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play black characters,” Lucas previously told the Big Issue. “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.”
Little Britain, which debuted as a radio series on BBC Radio 4, ran for three televised seasons on the BBC from 2003-2006 followed by various specials including 2006’s two-part Little Britain Abroad, Little Britain USA and more. Netflix has streamed all episodes of the series and the specials in the United Kingdom.