A SURVEY has found that viewers are shocked at the continued availability of an “explicitly racist” comedy sketch on BBC iPlayer.

As part of a study into audience expectations on potentially offensive content across both linear television and streaming services conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the UK’s media regulator Ofcom, 115 people were shown a Little Britain sketch which involves David Walliams playing a university counsellor.

In the scene Walliams’s character Linda Flint describes an Asian student named Kenneth Lao as having “yellowish skin, slight smell of soy sauce…the ching-chong China man.”

The scene was first broadcast in 2004 in episode 2 of Little Britain’s second season. It remains available on iPlayer.

The Ofcom study said: “Participants viewed this content as explicitly racist and outdated and felt that society had moved on.

The National: Matt Lucas and David Walliams have previously apologise for the use of blackface in Little BritainMatt Lucas and David Walliams have previously apologise for the use of blackface in Little Britain

“This content was not considered acceptable for linear TV and many were surprised that it was available on BBC iPlayer.”

While some participants said they found the clip funny, the research added that they “seemed embarrassed to say this and could recognise why it would be offensive.”

The report continued: “Others thought a VoD (video on demand) platform was appropriate because it meant viewers could have the choice about whether to watch the content or not.

“However, they did not think the current rating was enough, wanting a warning about the racist language and an explanation for why it was still accessible.

“For some, the content was considered too problematic, even for VoD.”

The BBC has a content warning attached to the episode, which states that it contains “discriminatory language”.

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Questions were also asked about why the BBC removed depictions of blackface and yellowface in both Little Britain and Come Fly With Me but felt racist tropes about Asian people were still appropriate to include in the newly-edited versions of the programme, which have been available on iPlayer since last year.

The report added: “The clip was considered less acceptable because the participants felt it was purposely offensive in stereotyping and targeting an ethnic minority group for comedy purposes.

“Some reasoned that it was important to still show this content to reflect the beliefs of society at the time. However, there were concerns that it could normalise racist behaviours which could be repeated by young children.”

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A BBC spokesperson said: “All jokes in our output are judged on context and intent.

“The sketches in which the character Linda Flint makes reference to the appearance or race of a series of people are intended to expose and ridicule some of the outdated prejudices and racism that still exist in parts of British society, which is more apparent when viewing the sketches within the context of a full episode, and across the series as a whole.

“The programme is part of the BBC’s comedy archive and information is provided for iPlayer viewers about the inclusion of discriminatory language.”