‘Little Britain’ sketch “explicitly racist” says Ofcom, but still on BBC iPlayer

‘Little Britain’ sketch “explicitly racist” says Ofcom, but still on BBC iPlayer

Ofcom have ruled a Little Britain sketch to be racist and outdated, with many viewers shocked that the television programme is still available on BBC iPlayer.

READ MORE: Peter Kay defends controversial ‘Little Britain’ sketches: “Comedy is such a minefield”

The journalism and television watchdog, Ofcom, recently carried out a study into potentially offensive content, which involved showing people some clips from Little Britain. It follows recent criticism of the series, which ran from 2003-2006.

The polling company, Ipsos, also questioned 115 people on behalf of Ofcom for the research.

Matt Lucas and David Williams in Little Britain. CREDIT: BBC

The sketch, which was first shown in 2003, contains actor and co-creator David Williams playing a character who uses racist terms to describe an Asian person.

According to the BBC, Ofcom shared that participants felt that “society had moved on.” The report also said: “A few participants said they found it funny but seemed embarrassed to say this and could recognise why it would be offensive.”

However, the study concluded: “This content was not considered acceptable for linear TV and many were surprised that it was available on iPlayer.”

The reason for the offence was detailed in the report: “The clip was considered less acceptable because the participants felt it was purposely offensive in stereotyping and targeting an ethnic minority group for comedy purposes.”

On the other hand, the report added, “Some reasoned that it was important to still show this content to reflect the beliefs of society at the time.”

However, some participants were concerned about the appropriateness of the content for young people, with the report reflecting, “There were concerns that it could normalise racist behaviours which could be repeated by young children.”

The BBC have responded to the complaints saying, “All jokes in our output are judged on context and intent. The sketches in which the character Linda Flint makes reference to the appearance or race of a series of people are intended to expose and ridicule some of the outdated prejudices and racism that still exist in parts of British society, which is more apparent when viewing the sketches within the context of a full episode, and across the series as a whole.

They maintain that there is sufficient warning regarding the content, saying, “The programme is part of the BBC‘s comedy archive and information is provided for iPlayer viewers about the inclusion of discriminatory language.”

The series, starring Walliams and Matt Lucas was removed from iPlayer in 2020 following criticism regarding the use of blackface, but returned to the platform last year with some scenes cut.

The post ‘Little Britain’ sketch “explicitly racist” says Ofcom, but still on BBC iPlayer appeared first on NME.

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