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Ofcom report brands Little Britain sketch ‘explicitly racist’ with fears show could be cancelled from iPlayer


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A sketch from BBC’s Little Britain has been branded “explicitly racist”, with some viewers surprised that it still remains on iPlayer.

Ofcom showed people a number of clips from different TV shows as part of a study on offensive content.

The sketch in question features David Walliams as a university employee, who is describing an Asian student to her manager.

He is described as having “yellowish skin, slight smell of soy sauce … the ching-chong China man.”

\u200bThe offensive clip involved David Walliams' character speaking to an Asian character

The offensive clip involved David Walliams’ character speaking to an Asian character


“This content was not considered acceptable for linear TV and many were surprised that it was available on BBC iPlayer,” the report said.

“Others thought a VoD (video on demand) platform was appropriate because it meant viewers could have the choice about whether to watch the content or not.

“However, they did not think the current rating was enough, wanting a warning about the racist language and an explanation for why it was still accessible. For some, the content was considered too problematic, even for VoD.”


The BBC responded, 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Flint makes reference to the appearance or race of a series of people are intended to expose and ridicule some of the outdated prejudices and racism that still exist in parts of British society, which is more apparent when viewing the sketches within the context of a full episode, and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.”

The episode comes with a warning that reads: “Contains adult humour. Contains discriminatory language.”

The study, which questioned 115 people, added in its 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. Some reasoned that it was important to still show this content to reflect the beliefs of society at the time.

Matt Lucas, Philip Glenister and David Walliams, backstage during the National Television Awards 2007, Royal Albert Hall, London

Matt Lucas, Philip Glenister and David Walliams, backstage during the National Television Awards 2007, Royal Albert Hall, London


“However, there were concerns that it could normalise racist behaviours which could be repeated by young children.”

One respondent, a father from Scotland, said: “If I saw my daughter watching that and then mimicking it, I’d be horrified.

“If kids are watching it, they need it to be explained that that’s not acceptable. It’s passed off as acceptable behaviour towards fellow human beings that come from a different part of the world.”

Episodes of the show depicting black face have been removed after were deemed offensive by critics.

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Written by: radioroxi

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