John Cleese slams “stupid” UKTV decision to remove Fawlty Towers “Don’t mention the War” episode

John Cleese, 80, who played Basil Fawlty, said the episode was mocking racism

John Cleese has slammed BBC-owned UKTV for removing an episode of Fawlty Towers which featured racist language.

The actor, 80, who played Basil Fawlty, branded the channel ‘stupid’ for not realizing “The Germans” was mocking the Major’s use of the “n-word”.

The 1975 episode, fondly remembered for the line ‘don’t mention the War’, is the latest in a series of British programs to be culled from streaming sites.

Little Britain was removed from Netflix, BBC iPlayer and BritBox and Ant and Dec issued an apology for ‘impersonating people of colour’ on Saturday Night Takeaway.

Speaking from his home in LA, Cleese told TheAge: ‘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.’

He added: ‘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?’

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Cleese also hit out at the BBC for trying to ‘pacify a few people if they get excited’ rather than standing their ground ‘as they would have done 30 or 40 years ago’.

A UKTV spokesperson said The Germans – which involves Basil Fawlty offending German guests by mentioning the Second World War – was removed for review because it ‘contains racial slurs’.

Read more: Daily Mail