So, now our media companies are censoring satire – an invaluable national source of laughter and light relief from the constant corruption and chaos in our country. Netflix, BBC iPlayer, and Britbox have all dropped Little Britain and Come Fly With Me (originally satirical sketch shows created by the BBC) from their streaming services.
A spokesman for the BBC told the Mail Online they regularly review old programming on BBC iPlayer, adding: “Times have changed since Little Britain first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer”. Suddenly, as it suits, the BBC have chosen to get on their moral high horse. On Good Morning Britain this morning, black Professor Kehinde Andrews stated that Little Britain “Should never have been put up on these platforms in the first place, and should be taken down”.
The ‘Blackface’ character from the popular show, absurdly painted with black face paint in the cultural hit is apparently the reason for its removal in the backlash of the Black Lives Matter protests in recent days. This PC posturing in an age of sickening sanctimony is depressingly typical; an institution devoid of democracy, feebly grasping the concept of freedom of speech.
Tried and tested boundaries in sketch comedies such as Little Britain lie in the territory of taboo, providing a platform upon which to poke fun without favour or discrimination, taking aim at an array of cultural groups and bodies of power. Where do you draw the line? Should we now ban, say, Gerald Scarfe’s scathing cartoon creations, continuing to lampoon the powerful on a weekly basis, loved by readers for years for their dark caricatures in The Sunday Times?
Toby Young has written about the idea of ‘offence archaeology’ – the act of digging up old material which, topical in its time, is now placed in the present and vilified according to new terms of taste, to echo an often hypersensitive hysteria on behalf of the PC brigade. As BBC Media editor Amol Rajan pointed out on BBC News at Ten last night, Little Britain was actually rather good at uniting the nation, winning countless awards and drawing audiences of up to ten million.
To starve society of this silliness in a world already so hostile and paralysed by politics is not only cynical, it is an indictment of our tendency to stifle freedom of expression, pandering to those who need to get a grip. The American journalist Molly Ivins once observed: ‘Satire is traditionally the weapon of the powerless against the powerful’. Never had this idea been so poignant.