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'Little Britain' removed from BBC iPlayer, BritBox and Netflix

Amy Johnson
·2-min read
Comedians Matt Lucas as Andy (in wheelchair) and David Walliams as Lou, during a photocall for the signing of their new comedy audio CD 'Little Britain', based on the BBC radio series, at the Virgin  Megastore in Piccadilly, central London.   (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)
Little Britain comedians Matt Lucas starred as Andy and David Walliams as Lou. (PA Images via Getty Images)

Little Britain has been removed from BBC iPlayer as well as other streaming sites BritBox and Netflix.

The controversial BBC comedy, which aired from 2003 to 2005 and starred David Walliams and Matt Lucas, has been criticised over the years for its use of blackface and stereotyping.

Their follow-up show Come Fly With Me, on air between 2010 and 2011, also attracted similar complaints.

Read more: Jimmy Fallon apologises for wearing blackface make-up in SNL skit

Both shows were pulled from Netflix on Friday, while the Daily Mail reports BBC iPlayer recently took down the first series of Little Britain that had been available.

A spokesperson for the BBC told the publication: "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."

Matt Lucas and David Walliams pose during the Brexit Comedy Show by Radio 4 at Shaw Theatre on October 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
Matt Lucas and David Walliams pose during the Brexit Comedy Show by Radio 4 at Shaw Theatre on October 27, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)

Lucas performed in blackface to portray Precious Little in Come Fly With Me, while Walliams also used blackface to play a black woman, Desiree DeVere, in Little Britain.

Other characters featured in Little Britain included Lucas as Ting Tong, a "Thai bride", and Walliams as mental health patient, Anne.

Little Britain is no longer on BritBox, the video subscription service created by the BBC and ITV, while Come Fly With Me has not been available on the platform for six months.

A statement shared to Yahoo UK from BritBox read: "Times have changed since Little Britain first aired, so it is not currently available on BritBox."

Matt Lucas and David Walliams played ethnic minority characters on their shows as well as members of other marginalised groups. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)
Matt Lucas and David Walliams played ethnic minority characters on their shows as well as members of other marginalised groups. (Photo by Jo Hale/Getty Images)

Back in 2017, Lucas expressed regret in the approach the show had made to imitating minority groups.

He told the Big Issue: “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.”

A TV return for Little Britain was hinted at during the beginning of the year, with Lucas suggesting certain characters would be retired to "reflect how we all are now".

The show did make a comeback for the BBC’s Big Night In back in April where the show’s more controversial characters were not revived.