David Walliams and Matt Lucas have apologised for “play[ing] characters of other races” in their hit TV show Little Britain.
The comedy series, which originally aired on the BBC between 2003 and 2005, was removed from streaming services this week (June 9), including the BBC’s iPlayer.
The show saw Walliams play the character, Desiree Devere, while wearing blackface. Lucas and Walliams also adopted blackface to play a pair of minstrels, while Lucas played a Thai bride called Ting Tong.
Now, its stars and creators have issued an apology on Twitter. “Matt & I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races,” Walliams wrote. “Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong & we are very sorry.”
Matt & I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong & we are very sorry.
— David Walliams (@davidwalliams) June 13, 2020
David and I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong and we are very sorry.
— realmattlucas (@RealMattLucas) June 13, 2020
The show is among a number to have been removed from streaming services recently, in light of the latest Black Lives Matter protests and global conversations about systemic racism.
In a statement announcing the removal of Little Britain, a BBC spokesperson said: “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.”
An episode of Fawlty Towers was removed from UKTV due to featuring racial slurs, but the decision has since been reversed. The episode, ‘The Germans’, will now come with a warning about “potentially offensive content and language”.
Other shows to be pulled from services over blackface and inappropriate racial content include The League Of Gentlemen and The Mighty Boosh.