BBC To Re-air Fawlty Towers – Edited For Woke Generation

The BBC will re-run Fawlty Towers as part of its Festival of Funny season, which begins this coming Monday. However, remarks made by the character Major Gowen in the episode “The Germans” will be edited out, a move that’s guaranteed to annoy John Cleese, who played Basil Fawlty in the series.

In the episode, the aging and eccentric Major (played by Ballard Berkeley), recalls taking a girlfriend to a cricket match at The Oval. He says;

The strange thing was that throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as niggers…. No, no, no, no, I said, niggers are West Indians, these people are wogs. No, no, no, she said, all cricketers are niggers.” 

The episode was removed from UKTV last year. The channel is owned by the BBC. Speaking at the time John Cleese said;

“We were not supporting his (the Major) views, we were making fun of them. 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.

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?”

Cleese is right of course. As a huge of fan of that series (I have the books, the biographies, the VHS and Bluray boxsets) I have watched that scene a thousand times. It’s hilarious and not remotely racist. No-one watching it, could credibly claim that the writers (Cleese and Connie Booth) were having a cheap laugh at the expense of minorities.

They were laughing at the Major, a totally harmless relic from a bygone era. If you’re of a certain age, you’ll have known someone like the Major. I knew and loved an old Italian gentleman, a WWII veteran. He was my next-door neighbour and passed away in the late 90’s. I still miss him.

He referred to people of colour as “panthers.” When a black Italian woman won a swimming medal at the Atlanta Olympics, he refused to celebrate. “She’s not Italian, she’s a panther” he said.

We scolded him and told him he was a dinosaur and a bigot, but we loved him anyway. We tolerated his intolerance because we knew that his world view didn’t define him. He was lots of things, a great husband, father and grandfather, a wonderful neighbour and a great friend.

He, like all of us, was the sum of all his parts and was a man of his time, as was the Major. None of us who knew him and heard him call black people “panthers” grew up to be racists. I’d have more respect for the BBC if they didn’t air “The Germans” next week. That’s bad enough but not nearly as bad as deleting scenes from it.




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So glad I bought the Fawlty Towers DVD set before woke bullshit washed ashore…


Mr Allen, your point about how people today would be treated if they expressed such unfashionable language is an important one.
A couple of years ago I worked for a charitable housing association who provide housing for vulnerable/older adults, and it is their policy to challenge any of their residents who use ‘racist’ language or hold ‘racist’ views – and any of those residents who do not change their behaviours can face eviction.

Wes Baker

I would evict myself…. What a miserable sounding place.


Yes. We didn’t part on good terms, funnily enough.


What, at this rate, will become of all the Carry On films, I wonder!

Wes Baker

Humour, joy, laughter and self deprecation are all dead to these vile people. Avoid them like these Frakenshots.


Oh, self deprecation they manage. In dull, predictable, nauseating buckets. With ‘lived experience’ being the only acceptable form these days, it’s all they can do – otherwise they are classified as far right and banned throughout the land.

Wes Baker

I was sort of meaning true self deprecation. Such as, my ‘lived experience’ is not any more important than yours….

But point well taken!


Buy them while you can is my advice.

Wes Baker

Humour cannot exist without stereotypes and satire. Who wants to hang around neo-Puritans?


Here, here…


People with no outlet become angry and/or depressed: but don’t worry, Big Pharma will be there with drugs that can help.


Yet another ‘nail in BBC’s Coffin’. I; personally wouldn’t have the nerve to edit or adjust work of this quality in any way whatsoever. Yet another condescending message from auntie; informing the viewing public that they lack the wit to disseminate the excellent writing and performances. I’m so glad that I no longer watch terrestrial TV or pay a license fee.


Is stereotyping all white men as privileged and racist not just banter then ?

Seems strange that many of those who sneer at the woke generation are extremely woke themselves.

Woke as well as angry at the aforementioned stereotyping 🤷‍♂️

As a Englishman I would never use ‘woke’ or ‘guy’ in a sentence 😁


I take your point, but doesn’t a great deal of fine comedy come out of sending up stereotypes?


It’s a somewhat flawed argument. Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and Lenny Henry all made careers out of using white stereotypes (among other things) – but they were never lambasted for it.
But white comedians, of the time, who used black stereotypes were lambasted.
It is not the stereotyping I have a problem with: it’s the double standard.


We both have a problem with double standards Craig.

In my case I was highlighting the hypocrisy of the ‘anti woke’ generation who reveal themselves to be equally woke when they perceive offence.

Personally I LOVE Fawlty Towers and have every episode on my hard drive.

Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy , very funny men 🤣

Lenny Henry vs Bernard Manning !
The mind boggles.


In other words, everyone gets offended over something. That would be the honest, non conflict based conversation.
The term ‘woke’ is just another deceptive made up term designed to cause division and conflict. As you probably know, it comes from ‘awoken’ and implies that everyone else are dumb sleepwalkers.
The problem here is that a great many of the ‘woke’ refuse to read or listen to anything that has been proscibed as ‘bad’ (much like the devoutly religious of any faith system). Unfortunately, anyone who does not expose themselves to such ideas are not ‘awake’ – they are prime candidates for unwittingly repeating the horrors of the past.
(This is not speculation. I have spoken to quite a few who consider themselves ‘woke’ and their blind faith and ignorance is something I find truly disturbing).


i knew this would happen. the channel Dave will cease to exist soon enough. or just become a disclaimers advert.

wondered of peoples thoughts on this. in terms of humour.. banter .. pisstake whatever you call it, it is ingrained in the cultural fabric of the British person. Its how we work. Dark humour sarcasm and satire is what makes us able to deal with life. (i found this present in bavarian German personalities also)

my thought is. I’m quite a nice person. charitable , overly empathetic at times. wouldnt hurt a fly!! But i LOVE “offensive” humour. I love the “oop thats a bit savage” type of comedy. Ive come to think this is actually more about therapy. release. comedy is where you go to decompress your inner thoughts without punching a stranger.

you laugh. you relief. you move on and you be nice to people after. it doesnt mean anything you just laugh and live your life.

My point is. if you remove this therapy, release. will we see people (myself included) finding another form to release inner thoughts. in ways…a lot more harmful, because of the repression of it. the removal of your outlet of “dark side”.

hope ive explained myself ok. wondered what other thoughts are!!


Perhaps it’s why the ‘woke’ crowd are so hostile?


oh well, that’ll be unfunny then.


All of Fawlty Towers was a mockery of flawed people. It’s what made it relatable. But once again we see the BBC making itself the moral arbiter of what mockery is permissible and thus removing relevant context.
Not that it will matter. Re-airing a show like Fawlty Towers is a litmus test to determine how successful the social reprogramming has been (and how much more work needs to be done), and it aids in perpetuating the social discord.

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