Entertainment & Arts

Little Britain: Matt Lucas and David Walliams 'very sorry' for blackface

David Walliams as Lou and Matt Lucas as Andy in Little Britain
Image caption Little Britain first aired in 2003 and ran for four series until 2008.

Matt Lucas and David Walliams have apologised for playing characters of different ethnic backgrounds in their sketch show Little Britain.

The series used blackface make-up in some sketches. Earlier this week it was removed from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox after objections resurfaced.

The pair said they "regret that we played characters of other races".

"Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong and we are very sorry," they said in their statements.

Lucas and Walliams said they had both spoken publicly in recent years about the regret they felt about such scenes.

In 2017, Lucas 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."

Walliams has also said he would "definitely do it differently" in today's cultural landscape.

Earlier this year, Lucas said the pair would "love to bring it back in some way and at some point", and suggested a Little Britain stage show could be one option.

Walliams used black make-up and an afro wig to play the black woman Desiree DeVere, while Lucas used blackface to play Pastor Jesse King.

Last Friday in the wake of anti-racism protests, Netflix took the show off its platform along with their other comedy, Come Fly With Me.

The BBC and Britbox took Little Britain off on Monday. Both outlets said "times have changed" since it first aired.

Little Britain first aired in 2003 and ran for four series until 2008.

Come Fly With Me aired in 2010 and there were complaints then over its portrayal of racially stereotyped characters and the use of blackface.

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