‘The Real McCoy’ added to BBC iPlayer after years of campaigns calling for its return

The groundbreaking black sketch comedy show broke down barriers in the 90s

Groundbreaking black sketch comedy show The Real McCoy has finally been added to BBC iPlayer after years of campaigns calling for its return.

Originally broadcast on BBC2 from 1991-1996, The Real McCoy featured black British comedy talents, including Leo Muhammad, Llewella Gideon, Eddie Nestor, Robbie Gee, Curtis Walker, and the late Felix Dexter.

It was one of the first UK sketch shows to feature predominantly black and asian talent both in front of and behind the camera.

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“It’s been a long time coming,” said Judith Jacob, one of the show’s stars. “If I had a pound for every time I’ve been asked when it’s coming back, I wouldn’t be talking to you.”

Speaking to The Guardian, Jacob added: “They said they’d lost the tapes. And then they turned up. Strange that.”

Over the years, a number of campaigns, including on by The Voice newspaper, called for the show’s return, though calls were not heeded – until now.

The BBC has now added every episode of the show to its online service, which you can watch right now here.


“We continue to expand the choice available on BBC iPlayer and I’m thrilled that we can now add The Real McCoy to our fabulous collection of current and classic comedy series,” Dan McGolpin, controller of BBC iPlayer, said.

Shane Allen, controller of comedy commissioning at the BBC, added: “This seminal sketch show broke down barriers and gave diverse comedy a crucial mainstream platform in the early 90s. It laid the foundations for inclusiveness and representation that we’re continuing to build on today.”

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Though the return of The Real McCoy is long overdue, its comeback in 2020 – the year that has sparked worldwide racial awareness, following the murder of George Floyd in May – is particularly poignant; serving as a reminder of the significance of black creativity through the years.

The show’s return is also a fitting tribute to two of its stars: Colette Johnson, who died in 2013; and Felix Dexter, who also died that same year.

Dexter’s name was given to the bursary to help develop and train comedy writers from a BAME background, with some of its alumni going on to work on the likes of Famalam, This Country and Mrs. Brown’s Boys.

Meanwhile, Netflix has curated a collection of films and TV shows to educate viewers on racial injustice and Blackness in America.

The collection, titled ‘More Than A Moment’, includes the short description: “Black lives matter. Learn more about racial injustice and the Black experience in America with this collection of films, series and documentaries.”

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