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Thread: BBC 'censors' racist scene from Fawlty Towers

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    Politics.ie Member borntorum's Avatar
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    Default BBC 'censors' racist scene from Fawlty Towers

    The Daily Mail is up in arms over the decision by the BBC to censor a racist joke from a recent repeat of Fawlty Towers. The offending remarks come from the famous "Don't Mention the War" episode, but they don't involve the Germans; rather the Major opines on the correct racial terminology for Indians:

    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 ******************************************. “No, no, no,” I said, “the ****************************************** are the West Indians. These people are wogs”.’


    Censorship row as BBC cuts racist lines from classic Fawlty Towers episode | Mail Online

    The BBC said that it removed the scene because the show was broadcast at 7.30pm, before the watershed.

    It's probably unsurprising that the Mail is outraged, but the Beeb probably would have expected more support from the Guardian:

    In a previous case, when the BBC cut homophobic language from the song Fairytale of New York, the original was reinstated after audience protests that the words were used without malice and as dramatic quotation. The same defence can be made of Major Gowen's speech and so there may be pressure for the entire episode to be shown at a later date, with an appropriate note about its content. Major Gowen is racist; Fawlty Towers isn't.
    Fawlty Towers isn't racist. Major Gowen is | Television & radio | The Guardian

    I can't imagine that anyone would be genuinely offended by this scene, and if someone is so stupid as to not get the joke, why should their stupidity be catered to?


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    PC gone mad. As the Guardian rightly points out, the major is racist even if in a slightly batty kind of old way, Fawlty Towers is not, never was and can only be construed to be by pedants.

    Hope that's not too un PC.

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    Politics.ie Member QuizMaster's Avatar
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    Well I suppose if it's a matter of the watershed mumble grumble. But I'm not happy with Fawlty Towers being messed around with.
    If there is a future, it will be Green.

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    Politics.ie Member Suttree's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Man or Mouse View Post
    PC gone mad. As the Guardian rightly points out, the major is racist even if in a slightly batty kind of old way, Fawlty Towers is not, never was and can only be construed to be by pedants.

    Hope that's not too un PC.
    Political Correctness Gone Mad - Stewart Lee - YouTube
    "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

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    Politics.ie Royalty toxic avenger's Avatar
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    It's idiotic. But they would at least want to be consistent - the episode with the thick 'Oirish' builders is one giant racist stereotype (and it isn't just O'Reilly, the other builder with the sh1t attempt at an Irish accent is portrayed as a pugnacious moron too).

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    Absurd decision.
    The whole idea of Fawlty Towers was to make fun of stuffy British attitudes about foreigners, class, sex and the sun setting on the empire in the 1970s.

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    Politics.ie Member Suttree's Avatar
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    There's a great amount of casual racism in older television; poor Uncle Albert couldn't hear anything due to "blood monkey music" in an Only Fools and Horses episode I was watching recently.
    "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."

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    Quote Originally Posted by toxic avenger View Post
    It's idiotic. But they would at least want to be consistent - the episode with the thick 'Oirish' builders is one giant racist stereotype (and it isn't just O'Reilly, the other builder with the sh1t attempt at an Irish accent is portrayed as a pugnacious moron too).
    After Irish builders wrecked this economy, built shoddy dwellings or left behind ghost estates or firetraps can you seriously claim that O'Reilly is not an accurate depiction?

    The racist outbursts of the Major were just part of the send up of the obsolete Imperial British officer type who was a heroic drinker, casually racist, elegantly turned out, a perfect gentlemen toward the ladies and unperturbed by the sight of dead bodies having seen plenty before at the Somme and El Alamein.
    Last edited by Hitch 22; 23rd January 2013 at 10:09 PM.

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    Politics.ie Member Mushroom's Avatar
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    Does the Beeb ever run repeats of Till Death Us Do Part? If so, then presumably each episode lasts for about 10 minutes.

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