Variety reports that the three platforms removed the series on Friday. A BBC spokesman told Variety: “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.”
IndieWire has confirmed the streaming services’ removals of the series. A Netflix spokesperson declined to comment about its decision to take “Little Britain” off the platform.
Netflix apparently wants little to do with original series creators and stars Matt Lucas and David Walliams, as the streamer also removed their 2010 “Come Fly with Me” sketch comedy series. A BritBox spokesperson told Variety that “Come Fly with Me” was taken off the service six months ago. In the series Lucas and Walliams portray various ethnic characters with the use of make-up in both titles. The duo also portray women and cross-dressers in “Little Britain.”
Lucas and Walliams have expressed regret for using blackface in “Little Britain” in prior interviews. The Guardian reported in 2017 that Lucas said although there was no bad intent behind his decision to use blackface, it was “a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now.” Walliams echoed that sentiment last year, when The Guardian reported that Walliams said the show would have to move with the times and he would “definitely do it differently now.”
The “Little Britain” removal news broke amid a period of heightened scrutiny regarding racial insensitivity in the entertainment industry. Dick Wolf, the creator and executive producer of the “Law & Order” franchise, recently fired a writer who threatened to “light up” looters, while “The Flash” star Hartley Sawyer was recently fired due to racist tweets from 2012 and 2014. “Vanderpump Rules” cast members Max Boyens and Brett Caprioni were also recently fired after their past racist tweets were uncovered.
Earlier today, Paramount Network cancelled the long-running “Cops,” which was supposed to return with a new season on Monday. A&E Networks is also examining the status of “Live PD.”