Sky axes woodwork show 'The Chop' after viewers spot Nazi tattoos on contestant's face

Albertina Lloyd
·Entertainment reporter, Yahoo UK
·4-min read
Darren Lumsden was due to appear on new woodwork show 'The Chop' (Sky History)
Darren Lumsden was due to appear on new woodwork show The Chop. (Sky History)

Sky has been forced to give a new woodwork show the chop after viewers spotted a series of Nazi symbols tattooed on a contestant’s face.

A trailer for Sky History’s The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker, hosted by comedian Lee Mack, featured contestant Darren Lumsden, a father-of-two from Bristol whose face, head and neck are covered in tattoos.

A spokesman for the channel said: “While we further investigate the nature, and meaning, of Darren’s tattoos, we have removed the video featuring him from our social media pages, and will not be broadcasting any episodes of The Chop: Britain’s Top Woodworker until we have concluded that investigation.

Lee Mack in a publicity still for The Chop. (© A&E Television Networks 1996-2020. All rights reserved.)
Comeidan Lee Mack was due to host The Chop. (A&E Television Networks/Sky History)

“Sky HISTORY stands against racism and hate speech of all kinds.”

Mack said in the video clip: “Meet the Woodman, the Bloke-With-All-The-Tattoos, or Darren as we like to call him.”

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Twitter users were quick to spot a prominent “88” inked on Lumsden’s right cheek, pointing out that this number is known to be a right-wing symbol.

H is the 8th letter of the alphabet and so the number 88 has been known to be used in in white nationalist or neo-Nazi circles as code to mean “Heil Hitler”.

The channel initially defended Lumsden's tattoos, claiming 1988 was the year of his father's death and that his inkings “have no political or ideological meaning”.

But viewers also spotted the numbers 23 and 16 tattooed on his temples – which they interpreted as code for “WP”, or White Power.

Two contestants in The Chop. (© A&E Television Networks 1996-2020. All rights reserved.)
Darren Lumsden and another contestant in The Chop. (A&E Television Networks/Sky History)

The number 14 is etched on his scalp, which can represent “14 words”, a slogan devised by white supremacist terrorist David Lane.

Lumsden is also said to have a sig rune symbol – used by the Nazis to represent victory – on his nose.

Not Going Out star Mack, 52, has reset his Twitter account as a result of the reaction to the trailer.

In the clip he told Lumsden: “If you were in my town, you wouldn't be known as the Woodman, you'd be known as the man with all the tattoos – surely they would take precedence.”

The show, filmed in Epping Forest, had been due to air on Thursday 22 October, with 10 contestants competing to demonstrate their woodwork skills.

Lumsden recently told the Bristol Post: “About 10 years ago I saw someone with facial tattoos and started to work with my tattooist on my look. I have my daughter on the back of my head and my son on my cheek.

“When some people first meet me they are a bit shocked, admittedly. But they soon warm to me after a few minutes.

Rick Edwards, Lee Mack and William Hardie in a promo still for The Chop. (© A&E Television Networks 1996-2020. All rights reserved.)
The Chop presenters Rick Edwards, Lee Mack and William Hardie. (A&E Television Networks/Sky History)

“Some people ask for selfies with me. I've never had a negative reaction to my tattoos. They are just me. I've already been stopped by people who have seen the adverts. No one went on the show to become famous.

“But hopefully it will come across on the show that I'm a bit of a character.”

British geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford, author of How To Argue With A Racist, confirmed that he had noticed Lumsford had several numerical tattoos known to be white supremacy symbols.

He tweeted: “I spend a lot of time on white supremacy forums online, and they have dozens of really idiotic numerical codes, most of which are substitution ciphers that a 7 year old would come up with.

“Darren appears to have these two on his face 88 = HH = Heil Hitler 23/16 = WP = White Supremacy There's also: 18 = AH = Adolf Hitler 1488: a reference to the so-called 14 words, coined by white supremacist terrorist David Lane.”

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Yahoo has attempted to contact Mack and Lumsden for comment.

Watch: Lee Mack takes part in Celebrity Bake-Off