Censorship row as BBC cuts the Major's 'racist' lines from classic Fawlty Towers episode

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  1. Hawthorne Abendsen Number One Epic Sloth

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    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...cist-lines-classic-Fawlty-Towers-episode.html


    Don't mention the ***: Censorship row as BBC cuts the Major's 'racist' lines from classic Fawlty Towers episode

    • Viewers complain that only the 'terminally thin-skinned' could be offended by the character
    • BBC said it was edited to suit a family audience to reflect changing attitudes
    By Laura Cox
    PUBLISHED: 18:49 EST, 22 January 2013 | UPDATED: 04:25 EST, 23 January 2013

    It is the episode of Fawlty Towers best remembered for the line ‘Don’t mention the war’ and John Cleese’s silly walk when impersonating Hitler.

    The references have proved controversial before, but when The Germans was repeated on BBC2 on Sunday evening it wasn’t our European neighbours that the corporation was worried about offending.

    Instead, the episode was edited to omit racist language – only for some viewers to then complain that the BBC was ‘airbrushing history’.



    [IMG]
    'Don't mention the war': John Cleese as Basil Fawlty giving an Adolf Hitler impression to German guests, with Polly in the background played by Connie Booth

    [IMG]
    The Germans episode of Fawlty Towers was voted number 11 in Channel 4¿s One Hundred Greatest TV Moments in 1999

    In one scene one of the hotel’s permanent residents, Major Gowen, uses derogatory terms to describe black people. It was included in the episode’s first airing in October 1975, but this time around the major’s words were edited out.

    The scene involves Basil Fawlty and the major, played by actor Ballard Berkeley, exchanging their normal pleasantries before the conversation moves on to Basil’s wife Sybil and women in general.

    The major tells Fawlty about the time he took a woman to see India play cricket at the Oval. He then says: ‘The strange thing was, throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as niggers. “No, no, no,” I said, “the niggers are the West Indians. These people are wogs”.’


    Several years ago there were concerns that the episode would never be shown again because of the offensive words. However, recent editions of The Complete Fawlty Towers DVD, distributed by BBC Worldwide, have not been edited and included the segment that was cut by the BBC on Sunday.

    Some fans took to the BBC’s Points Of View message board yesterday to say they ‘despaired’ at the ‘unnecessary’ editing.

    One wrote: ‘You can’t airbrush history away and I doubt if anyone but the terminally thin-skinned could be offended by the major, a character we’re clearly supposed to laugh at rather than with.’
    [IMG]
    Ballard Berkeley as the Major Gowen, who makes the offensive remark. Viewers said that the 'bigoted character' was meant to be laughed at - not with

    Another posted: ‘The point is that the major is a racist old bigot, incongruous with modern society – even in the Seventies. The audience isn’t supposed to agree with him, they’re supposed to laugh at him. The whole episode is about xenophobia in various forms – it’s social satire. I instinctively dislike the airbrushing of history.’

    A third viewer wrote: ‘So how sad BBC you have finally succumbed and lost the guts to transmit the episode of Fawlty Towers “The Germans” in its original form. The major’s speech of his experience of going out with a woman to the Oval is one of the funniest things ever.

    ‘You edited it because it includes the W-word and the N-word. Let’s face it, the whole episode and much of Fawlty Towers is racist by today’s standards and misogynistic, but above all it is hilarious.

    ‘We are all grown up, you know. We, the vast majority of us, can laugh at this without being racists.

    ‘It’s about time you grew up BBC, and trusted your audience. We know what is acceptable and what is not and what is funny and why, and the fact it is of a time which is now long past. We understand context, the major is a figure of fun, he doesn’t whip up hatred.’

    Fawlty Towers was written by and starred Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth. The Germans was the sixth episode of the 12 that were made and was voted number 11 in Channel 4’s One Hundred Greatest TV Moments in 1999.

    The series has continued to entertain families since being made in the 1970s and was in 2000 voted by industry professionals to be the best British series of all time.

    A BBC spokesman said: ‘We are very proud of Fawlty Towers and its contribution to British television comedy.

    ‘But public attitudes have changed significantly since it was made and it was decided to make some minor changes, with the consent of John Cleese’s management, to allow the episode to transmit to a family audience at 7.30pm on BBC2.’
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  2. Bluto Drunken lout

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    Fuck- Britain is doomed. Da U.S. ain't dat far behind dem. Fuck.
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  3. DerDer Bar Regular

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    Same variety of idiots that want to remove the word nigger from Tom Sawyer.
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  4. Clancy supports heterosexual buttsex

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  5. il ragno ...and may da best man submerge victorious!

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    Why can't we laugh at the old jokes any more?

    A 'racist' joke in Fawlty Towers has been cut because it might offend. Well, it might - if you didn’t get the joke
    [IMG]

    [IMG]
    By Michael Deacon
    8:23PM GMT 25 Jan 2013



    Strange place, the past. It appears to have been full of people who had next to no understanding of 21st-century mores. For some reason, they all seem to have carried on as if it didn’t remotely matter how their 20th-century attitudes and language would be judged by us, their descendants and superiors, in 2013.

    This week the BBC was confronted with this problem when airing a repeat of Fawlty Towers. The episode had a scene with the words “wogs” and “niggers” in it. The old major, played by Ballard Berkeley, is explaining the difference between the two. The line gets a big laugh from the studio audience. Or it used to. This time, the BBC cut the line out.

    The reason given was that it contained language that might offend. Well, I’m sure it might, if you didn’t get the joke. The joke's on the major. At first it looks as if he’s about to scold someone for being racist – but then he turns out to be racist himself. So we laugh at him. The joke’s actually quite PC.

    But still it was cut, because these are words the BBC now feels uncomfortable airing, certainly at 7.30pm. It’s happened before. In 2007, a joke about gay men being sticklers for cleanliness was removed from a repeat of Porridge. It makes you wonder what’s next for the cutting-room floor.

    Take Monty Python’s Life of Brian. In 1979, Life of Brian was thought shocking because it mocked man’s weakness for superstition and doctrine. Today, I suspect a broadcaster would be more shocked by the scene in which a male character is ridiculed for his desire to change sex. “I want to be a woman,” he says. “From now on, I want you to call me Loretta… It’s my right as a man… I want to have babies… It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them… Don’t you oppress me…” Plainly, we’re meant to find him absurd, and to agree with the male colleague who grumbles about the man’s “struggle against reality”. (“What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?”)
    Given the outrage this month when the columnist Suzanne Moore joked about transsexuals – and the even noisier outrage when another columnist, Julie Burchill, used the phrase “chicks with d----” – I doubt such a scene could be written today. Lynne Featherstone, a Lib Dem minister, demanded that Burchill and her editor be sacked. What would she do with John Cleese? Hang him by his tonsils from Tower Bridge?

    Soon, we’ll start to find Nineties comedy failing the 21st-century rectitude test. For some, this process has already begun.

    Last year, Word magazine ran an article claiming that the “Scorchio!” sketches in The Fast Show – first broadcast in 1994 – were xenophobic. “Humour born of bored English comedians sat in luxurious holiday villas,” it growled. “Greek, Portuguese, Italian and Spanish people all sound the same! How hilarious.” Maybe if the BBC repeats The Fast Show it could edit those sketches out. I’m pretty sure the Ralph & Ted ones were OK. Hang on, though – the joke is that a man has an unspoken crush on another man. Is that homophobic? Oh dear. Future generations are going to be very cross with us.

    Lines like the major’s in Fawlty Towers might not be very nice. None the less, this is how a lot of people used to talk (it’s how quite a few people still do talk), and it’s not much use pretending it isn’t. Because that’s what this type of editing is: a pretence.

    George Orwell, incidentally, used to write disparagingly of “the pansy Left”. He was, by 2013 standards, homophobic. Should publishers erase his prejudice from his essays? Or would that be a little, well, Orwellian?

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    Here i was thinking the BBC wanted to delete the Fawlty Towers episode where Basil mocks Germans and parades around as a nazi...............but the BBC would never think about that offending Germans.

    The film The Dam busters has also been dubbed over if i remember rightly and Gibsons dog "Nigger" is called something else.

    Of course the BBC are a pack of left wing turds and when i become Gauleiter of London they will be first in the oven...in fact ill use the oven inside the BBC canteen to get rid of them.
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  7. il ragno ...and may da best man submerge victorious!

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    Just make sure the Gestapo unit you send to drag them off in the middle of the night are all wearing full-head Jimmy Savile masks.
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    But Rags, the BBC finds nothing wrong with pedophiles. It's those nasty words that hurt more, don't you know?

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