Fawlty Towers is being re-aired next week in the BBC’s Festival of Funny next Monday.
The classic comedy series began in 1975 and ran for 12 episodes. In 2019, it was voted ‘greatest ever British TV sitcom’ by the Radio Times.
In the episode, The Germans, racist remarks were made by Major Gowen. These comments are going to be removed by The BBC when the show is broadcasted again next week.
It’s been less than a year since BBC-Owned UKTV removed an episode of Fawlty Towers which featured racist language by the retired soldier.
John Cleese called the channel ‘stupid’ for not realising they were mocking the major when he used this language adding, ‘We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them.’
The sixth episode of the first series sees Basil Fawlty goose-stepping around the hotel lobby shouting, “don’t mention the war, in front of a group of German visitors.
The same episode contains scenes of Major Gowen, who is a long-term visitor at Fawlty Towers hotel, recalling the time he took a female friend to watch cricket at The Oval.
‘The strange thing was that throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as n*****s.’ He adds: ‘ ‘No, no, no, no,’ I said, ‘n*****s are West Indians, these people are w**s’
No, no, no,’ she said, ‘all cricketers are n*****s’.’
John Cleese spoke about the comments made by the Major last year in his LA home. Talking to TheAge, he said: ‘One of the things I’ve learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour.
‘Some of them understand that if you put nonsense words into the mouth of someone you want to make fun of you’re not broadcasting their views, you’re making fun of them.’
He added: ‘The Major was an old fossil left over from decades before. We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them. If they can’t see that, if people are too stupid to see that, what can one say?’
He later tweeted: ‘The BBC is now run by a mixture of marketing people and petty bureaucrats.
‘It used to have a large sprinkling of people who’d actually made programmes. Not any more.
‘So BBC decisions are made by persons whose main concern is not losing their jobs. That’s why they’re so cowardly and gutless and contemptible. I rest my case.’
Last year, 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.
It is not the first time the comments have been removed from The BBC. Writer John Cleese supported the idea for BBC2 to remove the language used on a pre-watershed repeat in 2013. The reason they were removed from air was that public attitudes had ‘changed significantly’.