Confirmed heterosexual Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen ‘didn’t take offence’ to gay slur in The Royle Family

Emma Powys Maurice
·2-min read

Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen thinks it’s “bizarre” the BBC added a discriminatory language warning to an episode of The Royle Family that described him as a “Nancy boy”.

The 90s sitcom is the latest TV series to be tagged with a warning that it “contains discriminatory language which some viewers may find offensive”.

One such episode sees the family patriarch Jim Royle describe the Changing Rooms star using the homophobic slur “Nancy boy”. Llewelyn-Bowen, who is straight, was baffled that some viewers might find it offensive.

“The whole thing is so bizarre,” Llewelyn-Bowen told The Times.

“I mean, for God’s sake, what was he going to call me? That’s exactly what people thought I was in the 90s and appearing on The Royle Family was an iconic moment for me. I certainly didn’t take offence.

“But I suppose we can now look forward to Jim Royle’s moving lips being over-dubbed with, ‘He’s a highly respected interior designer and committed family man,'” he scoffed.

While Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen may be comfortable with the term, LGBT+ viewers who have struggled against the anti-gay prejudices it evokes are likely to disagree.

Explaining the content warning, a BBC representative told the Daily Mail: “Some older programmes on occasion contain language that some viewers find offensive, inappropriate or which have now fallen out of use, and for that reason, we do make that clear on iPlayer and elsewhere.”

The warnings also appear on the classic shows Dad’s Army and Fawlty Towers.

The BBC’s efforts to distance itself from outdated language come after it was hit with over 900 complaints for broadcasting the homophobic slur “faggot” on the 2019 Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special.

A BBC spokesperson initially defended the decision not to censor the slur on the pre-watershed show, claiming it “isn’t linked to homosexuality”, but the line was subsequently cut from the Christmas Eve re-run in 2020.

BBC Radio 1 also agreed to play an alternative version of “Fairytale of New York” that does not include the slur.

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