Matt Lucas Controversy: In Light of Little Britain’s Racism, The Comedian Apologises!
Matthew Richard Lucas, a British actor, comedian, screenwriter, and TV host, was born on March 5, 1974.
His most notable collaborations with David Walliams include the BBC sketch comedy shows Little Britain (2003–2006, 2020) and Come Fly With Me (2010–2011).
On the British version of “Doctor Who,” portrayed by Lucas, Nardole was a fan favourite (2015–2017). He has also made appearances in movies including Paddington (2012), Small Apartments (2014), and Paddington (2010). (2014). The Great British Bake Off has been co-hosted by Lucas and Noel Fielding since 2020.
In response to criticism of their use of blackface in the comedy sketch programme Little Britain, stars David Walliams and Matt Lucas have issued an apology.
Both comedians released nearly identical remarks on Twitter expressing sorry for their “characters of different races.”
After a heightened focus on race and representation concerns as a result of global anti-racism rallies following the death of George Floyd, the show has been removed from streaming providers like BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
We both (David and I) have expressed public regret in recent years for having portrayed roles of different races. Again, we want to make it clear that what we did was wrong, and we apologise profusely,” Lucas wrote on Twitter.
The programme has long been criticised for its use of blackface as well as its representation of LGBT and disabled characters. Lucas and Walliams play a blackfaced obese Caribbean woman named Desiree DeVere and a “portly Thai bride” named Ting Tong, respectively.
The BBC stated, “things have changed” since Little Britain’s initial airing in 2003, justifying the decision to withdraw the show from its catch-up service. Six months ago, ITV and the BBC’s joint streaming service BritBox withdrew the pair’s previous comedy series, Come Fly With Me, which first aired in 2010 and also contained blackface.
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For the show’s treatment of some of its characters, calling it “lazy” to “get a chuckle solely by portraying black characters.”
“If I had my time over, I wouldn’t make transvestite jokes in Little Britain. “I wouldn’t portray black characters,” he told the Big Issue in an interview that year. The short version is that I wouldn’t produce that show right now. This would likely cause a lot of anger. In our comedy, we were crueller than I would be today.
The resurgent anti-racism movement is prompting a reevaluation of many shows, not just Little Britain.
The BBC said on Friday that they will be restoring an episode of the 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers that had been deleted for using “racist insults.” On the other hand, the episode “Don’t discuss the war” will be highlighted with advice and a warning about the “possibly offensive content and language.”
Comedian Leigh Francis, better known as Keith Lemon, publicly apologised last week for his show Bo’ Selecta!, which featured sketches with famous black people.
Francis claimed he “didn’t think anything about it” at the time, but that he has “done a lot of talking and studying” about the topic since then. He later added, “I didn’t realise how offensive it was back then.”
Commercially, Lucas’s most successful film is Little Britain. Ashley Blaker, a BBC trainee radio producer entrusted with developing original concepts for broadcast media, ran met Lucas in London and the idea for the show was born.
Friends since their days at Haberdashers’, Lucas invited his old chum Blaker to the Groucho Club to discuss their plans for a comedy sketch programme. Beginning as a BBC Radio 4 programme, Little Britain was quickly picked up for television.
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Along with David Walliams, he creates and stars in the series, in which he plays a wide range of characters, including the ostensibly “disabled” Andy Pipkin, the teen Bristol chav Vicky Pollard, the homophobic gay Daffyd Thomas, and the insensitive slimming club organiser Marjorie Dawes.
In January 2005, Radio Times named Lucas and Walliams the two most influential persons in television comedy.
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