The British sketch show Little Britain was removed from streaming services after reports of blackface. The biggest platforms that previously carried the program were Netflix, the BBC and BritBox, according to Deadline.
Little Britain, written by Matt Lucas (Rock Profile) and David Walliams (Rock Profile) and produced by BBC Studios, aired from 2003-2006. As written in the show’s Wikipedia page, “The program consists of a series of sketches involving exaggerated parodies of British people from various walks of life. Each sketch was introduced by a voice-over narration (Tom Baker) suggesting that the program was a guide – aimed at non-British people – to British society.” The cast included Lucas, Walliams, Tom Baker (Doctor Who), Paul Putner (Shaun of the Dead), Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Joann Condon (Casualty), Leelo Ross (Still Crazy) and Ruth Jones (Stella).
After that, Lucas and Walliams followed Little Britain up with a 1 season, 6-episode sketch show called Come Fly with Me, which was a mockumentary about London Stansted Airport and its three fictional airlines. The cast of Little Britain also participated in live comic relief specials in 2005, 2007, 2009, 2015, and 2016.
The problematic character in Little Britain was named Desiree DeVere and was played by David Walliams (Rock Profile) in full blackface. In Come Fly with Me, Lucas played a black café worker named Precious Little in full blackface as well.
Netflix removed Little Britain and Come Fly with Me on June 6 while the other platforms responded soon after in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, via Deadline.
A statement from the BBC read: ““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,” via Deadline. Britbox followed with a statement that changing times resulted in the removal of the programming from their platform.
In response to the offensive material in the sketch shows, Lucas told Big Issue in 2017 that he would not revisit the controversial characters if he did a revival. To Big Issue, 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,” via Deadline.