Wednesday, January 04, 2017
The N-word is used in famous British comedy made in 1975
Censored recently but now available again
The derogatory lines appear in the celebrated 1975 episode called The Germans, in which the hapless Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, offends a party of German tourists by mentioning the war and performing a Nazi-style walk.
Also in the episode is a scene when long-term hotel guest Major Gowen, played by the late Ballard Berkeley, recalls the day he took a former girlfriend to watch a cricket match between England and India at The Oval.
He tells Fawlty: ‘The strange thing was that throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as n*****s.’
He goes on: ‘No, no, no, no I said – n*****s are West Indians, these people are wogs. No, no no, she said – all cricketers are n*****s.’
The lines were not seen as an issue when the episode was first broadcast on October 24, 1975, but BBC chiefs decided they were in bad taste when they repeated the episode in 2013.
But the cuts divided opinion, with some fans accusing the BBC of overreacting. One fan wrote: ‘The point is that the Major is a racist old bigot, incongruous with modern society even in the 1970s. The audience wasn’t supposed to agree with him. They were supposed to laugh at him… The whole episode is about xenophobia.’
All 12 [Uncut] episodes of Fawlty Towers are currently available via Netflix with a G rating, which urges adult discretion.
A Netflix spokesman said: ‘The service includes ratings guides and episode synopses to help people decide, and we also provide a PIN code system to ensure children can’t view certain content.’