Comedy fans reassessing Little Britain online have deemed the sketch show, starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams, to be “cringey”.
A discussion around the show kicked off after Reddit user ARedemptionSong asked people to assess its controversial sketches through a modern lens, particuarly in the age of cancel culture.
“Most of the sketches I think were fairly hit and miss, but Lou and Andy was absolutely profound,” they began.
“People think it is just about a chancer pretending to be disabled, when it is much more about the often dysfunctional dynamic between carer and those they are caring for. Lou is every bit as dependent on Andy as vice-versa. He uses Andy as an excuse for his own unacceptable behaviour (stealing flowers from a memorial) and as a form of crutch.
“As they say it is often the carer that dies first before the person they are caring for.”
Florence Rose and Emily Howard were two of the show’s recurring characters. Credit: BBC
Reddit users soon replied with their thoughts, and few had anything positive to say about the show.
One wrote: “It’s awful when it’s punching down, with the Vicky Pollard character being the worst in my book.”
Another user agreed, writing: “Same here, I found it unbelievably cringy at the time. It made me so uncomfortable and I thought something was wrong with me because it felt like everyone watched it and found it hilarious.”
One perplexed indivudal wrote: “I could not understand how it got commissioned, filmed, aired, watched and praised,” while another added: “I was a teenager when it was out, or very young twenties and I’ve always been pretty immature, so I found it quite funny at the time. Nowadays, well let’s just say I don’t think it’s aged very well.”
Another user argued that the sketch show opted for “cheap” laughs and was fundamentally cruel.
“Same. Cheap, nasty laughs back then. It was always a more vicious and less funny version of The Fast Show,” they wrote.
Some fans did come to the show’s defence, however, with one writing: “I liked it. They took the piss out of everyone. Anyone could get it.”
Little Britain. CREDIT: BBC
Another said: “It was full of irony. I loved the fat fighters parts. Cut it in half and because it’s only half the calories you can have twice as much! Personally think it was brilliant, a little stupid with the humour but it was good.”
Little Britain — which was created, written and performed by Lucas and Walliams, and ran from 2003 to 2006 — faced a significant backlash after returning to BBC iPlayer in 2022. Following the criticism, the BBC edited the series to “better reflect the changes in the cultural landscape”.
Some of the most controversial sketches on the show included the use of black face, racial slurs, and jokes about transvestites.
In a 2017 interview with Big Issue, Lucas expressed his regret at many of those scenes, admitting he would not make the same show today.
“If I could go back and do Little Britain again, I wouldn’t make those jokes about transvestites. I wouldn’t play Black characters,” he said. “Basically, I wouldn’t make that show now. It would upset people. We made a more cruel kind of comedy than I’d do now.”