Fawlty Towers Episode Removed From UK Streaming Service Over Racial Slurs

UKTV said it had temporarily pulled the famous ‘don’t mention the war’ episode.

UKTV have removed an episode of Fawlty Towers from its streaming service because it contains racial slurs.

The broadcaster, which is owned by the BBC, said it had temporarily made The Germans unavailable while it carries out a review.

The famous episode first aired in 1975 and sees John Cleese’s misanthropic hotel owner Basil Fawlty goose-stepping around while shouting “don’t mention the war” in front of a group of visiting Germans.

John Cleese played hotelier Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers
John Cleese played hotelier Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers

It also contains scenes showing the Major Gowen character using offensive language about the West Indies cricket team.

According to reports, Major Gowen’s scenes had already started to be edited out by some broadcasters.

A UKTV spokesman said: “UKTV has temporarily removed an episode of Fawlty Towers The Germans from Gold’s Box Set.

“The episode contains racial slurs so we are taking the episode down while we review it. We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language.

“Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider our options for this episode.”

Broadcasters and streaming services have reevaluated their content in light of the Black Lives Matter movement, following the death of George Floyd.

Earlier this week HBO Max temporarily removed the 1939 Oscar-winning civil war epic Gone With The Wind because of its racial depictions.

The BBC and BritBox followed Netflix’s lead and removed Little Britain and Come Fly With Me – which frequently saw comedians Matt Lucas and David Walliams performing in blackface – from their platforms.

Since then, Netflix has also removed a number of other comedy shows worldwide, including The League Of Gentlemen and much of comedian Chris Lilley’s back catalogue.


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