These are the TV shows that have been removed from streaming services amid Black Lives Matter debate

(Photo: Steve Finn/Getty Images)(Photo: Steve Finn/Getty Images)
(Photo: Steve Finn/Getty Images)

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations around the world, companies and institutions have been reflecting on the mistakes of the past and attempting to rectify them where they can.

That includes broadcasters and streaming services, who over the past few days have removed offending programmes and films from the past from their rosters.

Here’s a round-up of everything that’s gone in the UK:

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Little Britain

Matt Lucas and David Walliams’ Little Britain has been at the centre of controversy since it first aired in 2003 on BBC Three, due to its material.

The show included characters like Ting Tong, a Thai mail order bride played by Lucas, and Desiree DeVere, a black woman played by Walliams in full blackface.

It’s now been removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BritBox, and NOW TV.

In 2017, Lucas expressed regret over the jokes and characters made in the show.

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In an interview with The Big Issue in 2017, he said: “If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play black characters.

“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.”

Come Fly with Me

Lucas and Walliams’ next project has also fallen foul of society’s 2020 vision.

Come Fly With Me first aired in 2010, and featured Walliams and Lucas playing a variety of non-white characters, like Omar Baba, the Arab owner of the airline played by Walliams, and Precious Little, played by Lucas, a Jamaican woman.

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The show is also not available on Netflix, BBC iPlayer, BritBox, and NOW TV, though BritBox note, “Come Fly With Me has not been available on the service for six months.”

Fawlty Towers

The famous 'don't mention the war' episode of classic 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers has been removed from a streaming service because it contains "racial slurs".

The episode first aired in 1975 and sees John Cleese's misanthropic hotel owner Basil Fawlty goose-stepping around while shouting "don't mention the war" in front of a group of visiting Germans.

It also contains scenes showing the Major Gowen character using offensive language about the West Indies cricket team.

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A UKTV spokesman said: "UKTV has temporarily removed an episode of Fawlty Towers The Germans from Gold's Box Set.

"The episode contains racial slurs so we are taking the episode down while we review it.

The Mighty Boosh

Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding’s surreal BBC Three comedy has come under fire for the character of The Spirit of Jazz/Howlin’ Jimmy Jefferson, the ghost of a famous jazz musician.

For this character – which didn’t appear in every episode – Fielding would wear black and white face paint, a white suit and dreadlocks.

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The show has been removed from Netflix, although it is still available to stream through iPlayer at the time of writing.

The League of Gentlemen

No explanation from Netflix has been given as to why Mark Gatiss, Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s dark comedy has been removed from the service, but it’s thought to be down to Papa Lazarou.

Lazarou – a demonic carnival ringmaster who collectives wives – was portrayed by Shearsmith in dark makeup.

Shearsmith previously commented on the character during a 2017 episode of the Adam Buxton podcast, saying he never considered Lazarou to be "blackface," and that he associated his make-up with clowns.

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Shearsmith also defended the character in an interview with the Independent, saying, "It was not me doing a black man.

"It was always this clown-like make-up and we just came up with what we thought was the scariest idea to have in a sort of Child Catcher-like way."

The League of Gentlemen is still available through iPlayer.

Gone With The Wind

Gone with the Wind has been taken off HBO Max following calls for it to be removed from the US streaming service.

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HBO Max said the 1939 film was “a product of its time” and depicted “ethnic and racial prejudices” that “were wrong then and are wrong today”.

It said the film would return to the platform at an unspecified date with a “discussion of its historical context”.

Based on the novel by Margaret Mitchell, it features slave characters who seem contented with their lot and who remain loyal to their former owners after slavery’s abolition.

Gone with the Wind received 10 Oscars and remains the highest-grossing movie of all time when its takings are adjusted for inflation.

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While it hadn’t been readily available in the UK in recent years, Cops was an influential US docu-series that paved the way for police-focused reality shows.

It ran for over 30 years and 33 seasons, but has now been pulled by Paramount Network following claims it glorified police aggression.

The show had faced criticism for many years, with critics claiming the show glorified police aggression and profited from suspects' misfortune.

It’s not yet certain how the cancellation of Cops may affect similar shows, including those produced and broadcast in the UK.

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Bo Selecta

Leigh Francis’ zeitgeist skewering comedy show – which first aired in 2002 – has been removed from All4.

In the show, the comic played stars including Michael Jackson, singer Craig David and talk show host Trisha Goddard using latex face masks to caricature famous faces.

In a tearful video posted to Instagram, Francis said: “Back in 2002 I did a show called Bo’ Selecta, I portrayed many black people. Back then I didn’t think anything about it, people didn’t say anything, I’m not going to blame other people.

“I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then.

“I just want to apologise, I just want to say sorry for any upset I caused whether I was Michael Jackson, Craig David, Trisha Goddard, all people I’m a big fan of. I guess we’re all on a learning journey.”