Peep Show scene containing blackface removed from Netflix

Isobel Lewis

Netflix has removed a scene containing blackface from an episode of Peep Show.

The scene, which appears in the season two episode “Dance Class”, first aired in 2004 and sees Jez (Robert Webb) try to impress love interest Nancy (Rachel Blanchard) by breaking “sexual taboos”, including wearing blackface.

Jez questions the ethics of wearing blackface, saying that it “feels almost wrong” before asking: “Are you sure this isn’t racist?”, leading Nancy to reply: “We’re breaking a taboo, of course, it feels wrong” and later add: “Jeremy, I come from America. I’ve seen the problems race brings up.”

The scene has been cut from the Mitchell and Webb sitcom on Netflix, but is yet to be removed from Channel 4’s own catch-up service All4.

Speaking about the scene in 2015, Webb told Vice: “[Nancy is] a self-conscious taboo breaker, so she’s very aware of the taboo, whereas Jez is coming at it from a more sensible angle, that is, ‘Let’s not do this taboo.’

“With any kind of jokes in sensitive areas, you have to ask yourself, ‘What is this joke doing? Whose side is this joke on? How is it going to be misinterpreted and will they have a point if they misinterpret it?’ Those are the kind of things you have to ask.”

A number of British comedies have recently been removed from streaming due to their use of blackface, including The Mighty Boosh, Little Britain and Come Fly With Me.

The move comes as broadcasting corporations reckon with their use of offensive racial stereotypes in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests around the world.