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Little Britain removed from streaming platforms

Split from US Demonstrations | News Coverage (June 2020)

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JO
Jonwo
The Kevin Bishop Show had a sketch where he portrayed Keisha from the Sugababes which was a bit iffy at the time.
AA
Amber Avenger
I have to ask if it was because of Leigh Francis' apology over his portrayals of Craig David and Melanie Brown.


I find it strange he bought up those ones, which didn't play on their ethnicity and don't really seem racist, but didn't mention his portayals of Oprah and Trisha, which most definitely were.


Thought the same thing, felt like it was deflecting attention towards the most harmless examples. I recall his David Baddiel was another one he probably wouldn't like to see resurface.


To give Leigh Francis the benefit of the doubt, they are also his most famous characters. He did mention Trisha in his Instagram apology, and the story that she contacted him directly has been picked up by a few of the papers.
Ne1L C and Blake Connolly gave kudos
NL
Ne1L C
The BBC are reporting that HBO Max have removed "Gone With The Wind":

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-52990714
AA
Amber Avenger
Talking of Bo' Selecta, that has been removed from All 4 as of last week - in this instance it looks like it was with the agreement of Leigh Francis, but looks like it's still on Amazon Prime - https://www.chortle.co.uk/news/2020/06/10/46286/noselecta%21
LL
Larry the Loafer
Having watched Bo Selecta when I was younger, I never even considered the race of Craig David or Mel B, most likely because the caricatures were so far removed from the people they were based on that I considered them to be their own characters. As far as I know, Leigh and Mel are good friends in real life, and it was reported a while ago that Craig David feigned anger over his depiction after being advised to by his PR people.

Then again, his depiction of Oprah Winfrey in his Michael Jackson tribute was so grotesque, I could only assume it was meant to be an ironic parody of black caricatures, because I couldn't see how a white man playing a grumbling fat black woman with cravings for fried chicken ever got okayed.

I've always thought Warner's approach has been the best in these circumstances. It's better to educate and acknowledge wrongdoings than pretend they didn't happen at all, and not only do I worry about what this resurging cancel culture wave will take out, but I don't know if it's actually doing a whole lot to fight the central cause by making Little Britain a little less convenient to find.
Charlesy, Ne1L C and DavidWhitfield gave kudos
GL
globaltraffic24
I’ve read through all the comments. It’s fair enough what everyone is saying, and the BBC was probably a bit rushed in its approached. However, there is a simple solution here. Ask people from the BAME community for their views. It’s not up to us as, I’m assuming, largely white people, to decide what is and isn’t offensive to people of colour. If you’re portraying a minority group on TV, simply ask them for their thoughts in future. I’m gay and I’ve seen a significant improvement in the way LGBTQ characters are portrayed on TV in recent years. A lot of this is down to producers consulting with groups like Stonewall and then deciding how to proceed. Producers do the same with storylines covering sensitive issues such as abuse or chronic illness. To be clear, by raising uncomfortable issues, nobody is taking away your nice life. They’re just asking for a bit of respect and acknowledgment. If you can’t accept that, you have a real personal problem and should take some time out to think about your priorities as a human being.
NL
Ne1L C
I'm reminded of the quote by George Santayana:

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it

Education rather than censorship should be prevalent. The best example I can think of is MGM who on their Tom and Jerry DVD's and streams carry a rider:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-29427843

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k_oEOdIBOpU

Television isn't just a means of entertainment its a tremendous record of changing attitudes and to censor it is ignorance in a different form.
WH
Whataday Founding member
An argument being used a lot at the moment is "Little Britain mocked everyone equally". Anyone who offers that excuse is missing a fundamental issue: not everyone has equal privilege in the first place. If we had equality and there was no racism, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled or mentally ill, we could make jokes about each other equally. But if you mock everyone equally when some have less privilege, you're still knocking them down further than the rest.

And the "burning books, erasing history" comparison is absolutely ridiculous. The BBC is not deleting the shows from its archive, they're just choosing not to air them for reasons of taste and decency because times have evolved which is a policy they've followed for decades.
Mouseboy33 and Night Thoughts gave kudos
NL
Ne1L C
I’ve read through all the comments. It’s fair enough what everyone is saying, and the BBC was probably a bit rushed in its approached. However, there is a simple solution here. Ask people from the BAME community for their views. It’s not up to us as, I’m assuming, largely white people, to decide what is and isn’t offensive to people of colour. If you’re portraying a minority group on TV, simply ask them for their thoughts in future. I’m gay and I’ve seen a significant improvement in the way LGBTQ characters are portrayed on TV in recent years. A lot of this is down to producers consulting with groups like Stonewall and then deciding how to proceed. Producers do the same with storylines covering sensitive issues such as abuse or chronic illness. To be clear, by raising uncomfortable issues, nobody is taking away your nice life. They’re just asking for a bit of respect and acknowledgment. If you can’t accept that, you have a real personal problem and should take some time out to think about your priorities as a human being.


That is an excellent point. I have both physical and mental health issues and have suffered from a **** load of abuse. The portrayal of characters on TV with such issues has been erratic at best. I remember when the "Mrs Merton and Malcolm" sitcom started there were complaints about how the character of Malcolm was portrayed.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mrs_Merton_and_Malcolm#Reception

To me respect is highly important.
Last edited by Ne1L C on 10 June 2020 12:02pm - 2 times in total
WH
Whataday Founding member
I have a trans friend who had about 5 years of hell being taunted with "I'm a laydee" impressions wherever she went.
GO
gottago
I’ve read through all the comments. It’s fair enough what everyone is saying, and the BBC was probably a bit rushed in its approached. However, there is a simple solution here. Ask people from the BAME community for their views. It’s not up to us as, I’m assuming, largely white people, to decide what is and isn’t offensive to people of colour. If you’re portraying a minority group on TV, simply ask them for their thoughts in future. I’m gay and I’ve seen a significant improvement in the way LGBTQ characters are portrayed on TV in recent years. A lot of this is down to producers consulting with groups like Stonewall and then deciding how to proceed.
I think this is also down to there being a hell of a lot of producers, commissioners, talent and people in power working in the TV industry who are openly LGBT+ and over the years that has helped with better representation on screen and (I think) in turn more recognition and acceptance of LGBT+ by wider society because of it. There have been a number of efforts by various channels and companies to increase the number of BAME people working in TV but it remains an overwhelmingly white industry and TV is less representative of those views because of it.
globaltraffic24 and Jonwo gave kudos
MA
madmusician
I think that this does show the issue of streaming services becoming the 'norm' when it comes to content delivery. It's why I still buy DVDs of programmes that I want to keep (or keep my own recorded archive of programmes that aren't released commercially) because there's no permanence to a streaming service's content.

I can understand why a show being 'on iPlayer' or 'on BritBox' is seen as more 'willingly available' than 'DVDs are still for sale on Amazon', and this is why content providers are now looking at which archive shows are acceptable and which are not. Obviously we're now in a period (which I fully support) in which all sorts of people and organisations are reaching around trying to do better and this sudden shift in national (/international) mood has led to what may appear to be quickly-taken decisions. But I think that it is right for us not to have pieces of art available as part of mainstream services (such as iPlayer and Netflix) that cause distress to large swathes of society.

Which takes me back to my original point - all streaming or DRM-based digital content has a lifespan, as we saw when the BBC Store was shut and everybody lost their purchases. It doesn't exist for ever. The fact that for most people now Netflix or BritBox replaces watching a DVD blurs the distinction between 'archive content that I have made the effort to purchase and own' and 'content that is provided to me by a streaming service' and this has led to some of what is being written about this issue, I think.

I might be old-fashioned, but I'm very happy to have my own DVD and archive collection of things (ranging from The West Wing to The Thick of It to old sports and news broadcasts - but not including Little Britain, for the record) that I have full control of and can watch at my own whim without any need for DRM servers or streaming rights. This particular issue demonstrates the blurred-lines of the two. And I think that it would be very different if DVDs were still the main way that people watched their personal media - I think it would be highly unlikely that DVDs would stop being made of these series, even if this was still the principal method of archive TV distribution.

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