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article imageOp-Ed: BBC cuts Fawlty 'racist' script in Germans episode for prime time

By Paul Wallis     Jan 24, 2013 in Entertainment
Sydney - In what all real Anglophiles would call an act of barbarity, the classic Fawlty Towers episode The Germans has had scenes cut for “racist” language. This is the same network that tolerated Jimmy Saville groping kids on air for 30 years.
Apparently, the sacred 7:30 timeslot was reason enough for the PG-besotted BBC to go to work on the nearly 40 year old script. The parentage of the BBC must be rolling over in their film archives.
Sydney Morning Herald:
And yet in an act which many will see as political correctness gone mad, if not actual cultural vandalism, the venerable BBC has censored a scene in which racist language is used.
In the scene, a hotel regular, the elderly Major Gowen (Ballard Berkeley), relates a conversation in which he corrected someone for using a particular racist slur, by suggesting they use another, equally racist, slur.
The very mild racist slurs on Fawlty Towers, in fact, were common usage in those days. They were also quite mild compared to Alf Garnett and others. Modern PC, which includes invaluable forms of English expressions to avoid offending terrorists, paedophiles and insane financiers apparently couldn’t stomach real language usage.
The Germans was and still is one of the most popular of all the Fawlty Towers episodes, and the third search on YouTube when you enter “Fawlty”. Cleese is at his absolute best here. This is the Fawlty Towers meets Monty Python mode, with excellent script work and very sharp, second by second dialogue that nobody can match today.
The goose-stepping/Ministry of Funny Walks Cleese which was seen around the world is also in this episode, probably because even the most mindless BBC hack couldn’t seriously consider leaving it out. The portrayal of the Germans as humourless is arguably more “racist” than any single expression could possibly be, but it’s still in there.
(That’s right, we Germans have no sense of humour, I’m living proof of it, and that bit of folklore actually predates the Second World War.)
What next, idiots?
One wonders, however, which will be the next strike of BBC’s Mensa brigade. These same delightful allegedly human haemorrhoids also rewrote Humpty Dumpty so that the verbose, self-righteous egg was fine after falling off the wall. It may be that some of the latter day PC saints don’t know that revisionist history is about as un-PC as you can get. Or it may be that justifying their existence and costing a fortune in responses to infuriated fans is the basis of this little excursion into touchy-feely madness.
On the other hand, they may just be the usual mindless media psychologists, out to attract controversy while desperately trying to prove themselves to be prats of the highest order.
I can see it now- A rewrite of Henry V by the BBC:
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our carefully undefined national dead.
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest inhabitants of a small island off Europe.
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, the land area between Cornwall and Hadrian’s Wall, and religious notables called George!'
Or There’ll always be an England:
There’ll always be an unspecified island
And wherever it is shall always be free
If this unspecified island
Means as much to you as it means to me
Realizing that media workshops avoid teaching understanding of any possible context of any form of English usage, let me explain something to you, you appalling little peasants-
1. Being English is not actually illegal.
2. The use of the English language in authentic forms is not illegal.
3. Historical usage is full of words which were in common use and were abrasive. “Scum” is one of them, for example. It has multiple meanings, depending on how it’s applied and which form of industrial equipment you apply it with.
4. British media needs money, not fatuous semantics, with which to exist.
5. Fatuous semantics are a much lower priority than money.
6. Ridiculous little bastards with no understanding of the English language or culture are not currently in high demand among audiences except those who need more shell in their diet.
For future reference, I suggest the Fawlty Towers episode in which Mr Fawlty thoughtfully sets off with a garden gnome to make anatomical additions to a business associate is adopted as a standard reference for BBC remedial policy regarding script vandalism.
Update: A copy of this article has been forwarded to the BBC for therapeutic reasons.
Update 2: I've now been informed by email that BBC's Points of View is unavailable until Spring. That does make sense, in a Uriah-Heepish sort of way. (Uriah Heep was a non-ethnic member of a non-society.)
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Fawlty towers, John cleese, henry v, There'll always be an England lyrics, Humpty dumpty
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