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John Cleese criticises "stupid" Fawlty Towers removal

John Cleese criticises
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John Cleese slams the decision to axe an iconic episode of Fawlty Towers as "stupid".

John Cleese has described UKTV's decision to remove an episode of Fawlty Towers due to race concerns as "stupid".

Over the last few weeks, broadcasters have been reviewing historical content to ensure that it is appropriate viewing in the wake of the huge global outrage following the horrific death of George Floyd last month.

Yesterday it emerged that UKTV had pulled the iconic 'The Germans' episode of Fawlty Towers due to concerns over the content, which features use of the N-word, references to "wogs" and a Nazi impression.

"One of the things I've learned in the last 180 years is that people have very different senses of humour," Cleese, 80, told The Age.

"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?

"Fawlty Towers has given a large number of people a great deal of happiness, why would you want to stop that? It reminds me of the definition of a Scottish Presbyterian as someone who has a nasty, sneaking feeling that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.

"At the moment there is a huge swell of anger and a really admirable feeling that we must make our society less discriminatory, and I think that part of it is very good."

Fawlty Towers ran for just 12 episodes across two series in the 1970s and is widely recognised as one of the best British comedies of all time.

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John Cleese as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers
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Fawlty Towers episode 'The Germans' pulled by UKTV
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