London, Jan 23: Television viewers in Britain have accused the BBC of ‘airbrushing history’ after it aired an edited episode of Fawlty Towers, best remembered for the line ‘Don’t mention the war’ and John Cleese’s silly walk when impersonating Hitler.
The episode was edited to omit racist language – only for some viewers to then complain that the BBC was ‘airbrushing history’, reports the Daily Mail.
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.
Some fans took to the BBC’s Points Of View message board yesterday to say they “despaired” at the “unnecessary” editing. Viewers also asked BBC to “grow up” and “trust” its audience.
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.
In 2000, the series was voted by industry professionals to be the best British series of all time. (ANI)