Channel 4 pulls ‘IT Crowd’ episode over transphobic content

The show's co-creator Graham Linehan, a vocal opponent of trans rights, is furious

An episode of The IT Crowd has been pulled from Channel 4’s catch-up service All 4 after it was widely condemned as transphobic.

In the season three episode from 2008, titled The Speech, Lucy Montgomery plays a transgender woman, April, who dates the company’s boss, Douglas Reynholm (Matt Berry). When Douglas discovers April is transgender he responds angrily: “It’s not you, it’s me. No actually, it’s not me, it is you”, before the pair engage in a physical fight.

The IT Crowd co-creator, Graham Linehan, has condemned Channel 4’s decision to remove the episode in a blog post. He’s called for the broadcaster to reinstate it because he believes supporting transgender rights “is a source of oppression for women, historically and globally” and that C4’s decision is “an attack on my right to freedom of speech”.

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He claimed Channel 4 pulled the episode for “religious reasons”, explaining: ’”I do *not* agree with the statement that ‘Transwomen are women’ because it has huge implications for women in terms of safeguarding, sports, equal representation in public life and so on.

Graham Linehan
Graham Linehan CREDIT: Eamonn McCormack/WireImage

“Also, it is a biological impossibility and therefore a religious belief that I certainly do not share. Bruce Jenner is not the same sex as my mother. Sex is real, and it is a source of oppression for women, historically and globally.”

He added: “If you start bowing to the demands of extremists, you will never stop. This is a bigger fight than you realise.”

Some Twitter users noted the episode’s transphobia online.

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Channel 4 said it was “committed to maintaining the greatest possible freedom of creative expression”. It added that while it aims to preserve the All 4 archive as much as possible, it does include “warnings” or makes “small edits as appropriate” to existing material.

With regards to the IT Crowd episode, a spokesperson said: “After reviewing this particular episode in light of current audience expectations, we concluded it did not meet our standards for remaining available on All 4 and it was not possible to make adequate changes, and therefore it was removed.”

Linehan concluded his statement with a vow that he won’t work for Channel 4 again “until the episode is reinstated”.

In June, Linehan, who also created Father Ted and Black Books, was permanently suspended from Twitter for his repeated critical remarks of the transgender community.

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