An episode of sitcom Fawlty Towers has been taken off UKTV's streaming service because it contains racial jokes. The BBC-owned platform said it had made The Germans unavailable while it carries out a review.
In the 1975 episode,
Basil Fawlty declares don't mention the war around German guests, while the Major uses the dated term 'wogs' about the West Indies cricket team.
Actor and creator John Cleese attacked the 'cowardly' BBC describing the move as stupid. Speaking to
The Age newspaper, he said the episode was clearly a critique of racist attitudes:
One of the things I've learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour. Some of them understand that
if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of, you're not broadcasting their views, you're making fun of them.
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. We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the
impact of outdated language. Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider our options for this episode.
The Germans is still available to view on Britbox, which is part-owned by the BBC, with a
message saying it contains some offensive racial language of the time and upsetting scenes. It is also on Netflix, carrying a warning about language, [and] discrimination.
Else where there have been a few similar complaints about jokes on ITV's Ant
& Dec's Saturday Takeaway and the BBC's Gavin and Stacey.
Update: Reinstated. Maybe it was the BBC censorship that caused the most offence.
A classic episode
of the comedy Fawlty Towers will be reinstated to streaming service UKTV but with a warning about offensive content and language. A UKTV statement said:
We already offer guidance to viewers across some of our classic
comedy titles, but we recognise that more contextual information can be required on our archive comedy, so we will be adding extra guidance and warnings to the front of programmes to highlight potentially offensive content and language.
We will reinstate Fawlty Towers once that extra guidance has been added, which we expect will be in the coming days.
We will continue to look at what content is on offer as we always have done.
Offsite Comment: Now even Fawlty Towers is being erased
Netflix , BBC iPlayer and BritBox have removed comedy series Little Britain from their platforms amid PC concerns about its use of blackface.
Netflix pulled the BBC series on Friday. Netflix has also dropped the comedians' airport
mockumentary Come Fly With Me . BBC iPlayer and BritBox have also ditched Little Britain from their platforms this week.
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.
BritBox also confirmed that Little Britain was no longer on the service, adding that Come
Fly With Me had not been available for six months.
Little Britain first aired in 2003, while Come Fly With Me debuted in 2010. Both series saw the comedians play characters from different ethnic backgrounds with the use of make-up. In Come Fly
With Me, Lucas and Walliams wore make up for characters including airport worker Taaj, passenger liaison officer Moses Beacon, and airline boss Omar Baba while Walliams also starred as health-spa guest Desiree Devere in Little Britain.
Newsnight has taken an extraordinarily aggressive stance against the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis. The majority of its reports are aimed at rubbishing government decisions.
Emily Maitlis opened the programme on 26th May:
Dominic Cummings broke the rules, the country can see that, and it's shocked the government cannot.
The longer ministers and prime minister tell us he worked within them, the more angry the response
to this scandal is likely to be.
He was the man, remember, who always got the public mood, he tagged the lazy label of "elite" on those who disagreed.
He should understand that public mood now.
One of fury, contempt, and anguish.
He made those who struggled to keep to the rules feel like fools, and has allowed many more to assume they can now flout them.
The prime minister knows all this, but
despite the resignation of one minister, growing unease from his backbenchers, a dramatic early warning from the polls, and a deep national disquiet, Boris Johnson has chosen to ignore it.
Tonight, we consider what this blind
loyalty tells us about the workings of Number 10. We do not expect to be joined by a government minister, but that won't stop us asking the question.'
This kicked off a lively debate resulting an official response from the BBC:
Summary of complaint
We received complaints about the introduction to the programme.
The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its
news output. We've reviewed the entirety of last night's Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction
was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme. As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the
Ofcom has revealed that Emily Maitlis'
Newsnight monologue about Dominic Cummings and the blind loyalty of his boss Boris Johnson has sparked 247 complaints. Ofcom has noted that the BBC will consider the complaints in the first instance and that Ofcom may investigate thereafter.
is claimed to have had ten times as many complaints from viewers than the UK's broadcasting regulator but is refusing to release any figures for up to a fortnight. The Guido Fawkes blog has claimed the corporation has received 18,158 complaints in 24
hours and the figure is still going up, although that number could also include complaints sent in by Ms Maitlis' supporters who have rushed to slam the bosses who censured her.
Offsite Comment: It was Emily Maitlis who broke the rules