It’s practised up and down the country - and for many is a quintessential image of English life. But does one tradition proudly celebrated by some Morris Men belong firmly in the past? They argue the practice of painting their ‘black face’ goes back hundreds of years - others say in modern, multicultural Britain it’s plainly offensive.
"We're not going out to mock anybody or to be in any way racially abusive. It's a costume."
"The longer I stayed, the more uncomfortable I felt. Black face has a very specific meaning for people of my community, so it was a very odd experience and it made me feel I couldn't fully participate in the event."
Katie Kedward stumbled across a folk festival featuring 'blackface' Morris dancers
Katie Kedward encountered one group who still paint their faces black and was left gobsmacked; she’s calling for it to be stopped. However, Morris dancer John Ellis paints his face and defends the costume, saying it is just misunderstood. They both join us today.