Netflix Yanks Little Britain British Sketch Comedy for Use of Blackface

Kimberly Roots

Little Britain is no longer available on Netflix. The streaming service, citing the British series’ use of blackface, no longer carries the sketch comedy starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, per The Daily Mail.

Little Britain debuted in 2003 on BBC Three. It aired three seasons and several specials in Great Britain; HBO aired an American spinoff starring Walliams and Lucas, Little Britain USA, in 2008.

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One of Walliams’ Little Britain characters was Desiree DeVere, a Black woman played by Walliams wearing blackface. Lucas and Walliams’ Come Fly With Me, which Netflix also yanked Friday, features Lucas playing a Black character named Precious Little.

Both series also have been removed from BBC’s iPlayer and the British streaming service BritBox.

“There’s a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review,” a spokesperson for the BBC told The Daily Mail. “Times have changed since Little Britain first aired, so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer.”

Little Britain has taken heat in the past about its portrayal of people with disabilities, among other groups. In a 2017, Lucas said he regretted how the show had handled sensitive topics. “Basically, I wouldn’t make that show now. It would upset people,” he said in The Big Issue, specifically citing the use of blackface and how the show lampooned cross-dressers. “We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now.”

 

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