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Towers episode The Germans pulled from streaming service over racist slurs

The famous ‘don’t mention the war’ episode of classic 1970s sitcom Fawlty Towers has been removed from a streaming service because it contains “racial slurs”.

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

The episode, first aired in 1975, showed hotel owner Basil Fawlty, played by John Cleese, soldier marching while shouting “don’t mention the war” in front of a group of German tourists.

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.

Source: BBC TV

John Cleese has responded to the removal of the episode in comments to Australian newspaper The Age this morning: ‘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.

‘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?’

The controversial scene is still included in the version of Fawlty Towers available on Netflix, which has, in the last week, pulled Little Britain, The League Of Gentlemen, The Mighty Boosh, Come Fly With Me  and the work of Australian comedian Chris Lilley from its catalogue because of concern over blackface.