Matt Lucas and David Walliams issue apology over Little Britain blackface

Credit: PA

Matt Lucas and David Walliams have apologised for "playing characters of other races" in Little Britain.

The comedy series has come under fire recently because of the use of blackface in some sketches.

It was removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox in the wake of weeks of Black Lives Matter protests around the world.

Lucas and Walliams posted similar statements on Twitter on Saturday evening saying "we are very sorry".

Walliams wrote: "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."

In the series, 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.

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

The pair received the BAFTA for Comedy programme or Series Award for Little Britain in 2005. Credit: PA

In the wake of recent Black Lives Matter protests, stars including Ant and Dec and Leigh Francis have apologised for portraying black people on TV.

Lucas previously said he has regrets about Little Britain, describing the comedy as “cruel”.

Speaking in 2017 to the Big Issue, 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.

"Now I think it's lazy for white people to get a laugh just by playing black characters. My aim is to entertain, I don't have any other agenda."

Earlier this year, the pair revisited Little Britain for BBC One's Big Night In charity programme - reprising their roles as a number of the show's famous characters including Lou and Andy, Daffyd, Marjorie Dawes and Sebastian while wearing makeshift costumes.