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Fawlty Towers episode featuring racial slurs is removed from UKTV streaming service

The development comes as protests against racism continue around the world.

Fawlty Towers
Published: Friday, 12th June 2020 at 9:32 am

An episode of classic BBC sitcom Fawlty Towers featuring a racial slur has been removed from the BBC-owned UKTV catch-up service.


The Germans first aired in October 1975 as the final episode of the first series and became famous for a scene in which Basil Fawlty (John Cleese) proclaims "Don't mention the war!" while goose-stepping around his hotel.

Not only does the cynical hotel owner offend a German family with his behaviour, but the episode sees another guest named Major Gowen use a racial slur about the West Indies cricket team.

A spokesperson for UKTV told "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We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language.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."

The news comes just days after Little Britain was taken down from BBC iPlayer, Netflix and BritBox for featuring blackface characters, while civil war epic Gone with the Wind was removed from newly launched US streaming service HBO Max.

These developments come as broadcasters reflect on their output old and new, spurred on by Black Lives Matter protests around the world drawing attention to systemic racism in society.

11 episodes of Fawlty Towers remain available on UKTV and The Germans is still streaming on Netflix UK.


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