Having watched Little Britain once, briefly, I have been fortunate to have escaped it ever since. It came across as unpleasant and unfunny, and it seems that the show’s creators have continued in the same vein with their recent Christmas Day special. Matt Lucas and David Walliams decided to ‘black up‘ in order to play a number of characters, including a black woman:
Lucas darkens his face and wears a beard to play a Muslim worker called Taaj. He also adopts a strong West Indian accent to play a black woman called Precious who works in the coffee shop.
Though the story has been mainly pushed in the Daily Mail, which has a vendetta against the BBC, the reaction of the BBC’s spokesman was pretty weak:
A BBC spokesman said: ‘Come Fly With Me had a huge audience and many people loved it. ‘Matt and David play all the characters and they are representing a multicultural society. They are not setting out to offend people.’
“Representing a multicultural society” by ‘blacking up’? Oh dear. One of the main problems with ‘blacking up’ or blackface’ is its historical legacy. Most prominent in America as a way of perpetuating negative stereotypes of black men (and women), it also came to this country mainly in the form of the Black and White Minstrel show. Many people found it offensive at the time and still do so today. Nor is this the first time Little Britain has used ‘blacked up’ characters.
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Filed in: EDL,History,Media