Little Britain pulled from iPlayer and Netflix because 'times have changed'

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Little Britain has been removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox as objections resurfaced to some of the sketch show's characters.

Netflix pulled the Matt Lucas and David Walliams series on Friday, along with their other comedy Come Fly With Me.

The BBC and Britbox took Little Britain off on Monday. Both outlets said "times have changed" since it first aired.

Both shows include scenes where the comedians portray characters from different ethnic backgrounds.

"There's a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review," a BBC spokesperson said.

"Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer."

No Netflix reboot

Netflix has not commented on the reasons for the removal, but has said recent reports that it was in negotiations with Walliams and Lucas to make a new series were false.

"We were not in active conversations about reviving the show," a spokesman said.

The removal angered some fans, with one viewer saying people should be able to make their "own choices".

But others have expressed unease about watching sketches which featured the comedians wearing make up to portray different races.

'Cruel comedy'

In 2017, Lucas 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."

Walliams has also said he would "definitely do it differently" in today's cultural landscape.

Earlier this year, Lucas said the pair would "love to bring it back in some way and at some point", and that they had had a conversation with Netflix.

He suggested a Little Britain stage show could be one option, adding: "It will come back in some form, we're just still figuring out what that will be."

Last week, comedian Leigh Francis apologised for portraying black celebrities on sketch show Bo' Selecta.

It comes as certain parts of life have come under scrutiny in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests following the death of George Floyd.

Come Fly With Me came off Britbox around November, and has not been available to view on iPlayer since it was first broadcast in 2010 and 2011.

Little Britain first aired in 2003 and ran for four series until 2008. There have also been a handful of specials, including a sketch on the BBC One coronavirus charity fundraiser The Big Night In this April.

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