Little Britain removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox amid blackface concerns

Little Britain has been removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox because “times have changed” since the comedy first aired, the BBC has said.

The series, starring David Walliams and Matt Lucas, has come under fire recently because of the use of blackface in some sketches.

Following on from more than a week of Black Lives Matter protests across the world, the show was removed from streaming platforms on Friday, along with Come Fly With Me.

Little Britain first aired in the UK in 2003 and was one of the most popular comedy series on the BBC.

The shows included scenes where comedians portrayed characters from different ethnic backgrounds with the use of makeup.

Walliams sported black make-up and a large afro wig to play the overweight black woman Desiree DeVere.

Lucas also used blackface to play Pastor Jesse King, who said he was “from the ghetto” and spoke in tongues to cure the sick.

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.”

A BritBox spokesperson also confirmed the show has been removed from that platform too.

Last week, Netflix also removed the show, as well as Walliams and Lucas’s other series Come Fly With Me.

In that show Lucas wore dark make-up to play Jamaican woman Precious and ground crew employee Taaj, who was of Pakistani descent.

The show was a huge hit in the early 2000s. Credit: PA

Speaking in 2017, Matt Lucas said if he were to remake the show he would not play black characters again and has apologised.

He said: "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...

"Society has moved on a lot since then and my own views have evolved.”

It comes after Bo’ Selecta star Leigh Francis issued a tearful apology for his representation of black celebrities in his former Channel 4 series.

Francis starred in the Channel 4 show from 2002 to 2009, where he impersonated a number of black celebrities and figures, including Craig David, Mel B and Trisha Goddard.

In a video posted on his Instagram page, he said: “It’s been a weird few days, it’s been a weird few days, and I’ve sat and thought about things and what I could post to try and help things.

“Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo’ Selecta and portrayed many black people. Back then, I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything. I’m not going to blame it on other people.”

“I’ve been talking to some people and I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then and I just want to apologise.”