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Top 10 British Shows That Would Never Get Made Today

VO: Richard Bush WRITTEN BY: Paul Grover
“The times they are a-changin’”. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 British Shows That Would Never Get Made Today. Culture naturally evolves over time, along with what is considered acceptable in society and entertainment. And British TV has a plethora of shows that were once considered the norm but are now cringe-inducing and even shocking to look back on. For this list we’ll be counting down those series which were par the course for their time, but would never get the green light in today’s environment. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 British Shows That Would Never Get Made Today


“The times they are a-changin’”. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 British Shows That Would Never Get Made Today.

Culture naturally evolves over time, along with what is considered acceptable in society and entertainment. And British TV has a plethora of shows that were once considered the norm but are now cringe-inducing and even shocking to look back on. For this list we’ll be counting down those series which were par the course for their time, but would never get the green light in today’s environment.

#10: “It Ain't Half Hot Mum” (1974-81)


Set in the dying months of World War II, “It Ain’t Half Hot Mum” followed a group of British soldiers stationed in India. The problem was, the Indian characters were presented as lazy stereotypes rather than realistic representations. Though the biggest controversy of the show was one of those characters being portrayed by the white actor, Michael Bates – who wore brown makeup for the role. While some still look back on the series fondly, there’s a clear reason this doesn’t often get repeated on TV unlike many other sitcoms of yesteryear.

#9: “Bottom” (1991-95)


While it’s hard to deny the comic genius of Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson, there would simply be no place in today’s TV landscape for Richard Richard and Eddie Hitler. The lead characters of “Bottom” were highly sexualised, perverted and misogynistic. Quite frankly, Ofcom wouldn’t be able to handle the sheer number of complaints their actions would bring about in this day and age. Not to mention, it may just be the most bombastically violent comedy sitcom ever, with legs being chainsawed off as just one example of why.

#8: “Are You Being Served?” (1972-85)


Before you say anything... Mr. Humphries, Captain Peacock, Mrs. Slocombe and her pussy wouldn’t make it past the pilot stage in the modern era. But, just how offensive can a show set in a clothing section of a department store be, you ask? You’d be surprised! Overflowing with boundary pushing sexual innuendos and double entendres, “Are You Being Served?” would likely be a tough nut to swallow for millennial audiences. The nudge, nudge, wink, wink humour simply doesn't hold nowadays, and this was probably the most blatant sitcom of its type!

#7: “There's Something About Miriam” (2004)


A reality show featuring six young guys all competing for the affection of a twenty-one year old model. So far, so cliche. However, the twist was that the model - Miriam - was a pre-op transexual. Great for transgender representation in the media, right? Well, not exactly. The hook of the series, the group of hunks vying for Miriam’s approval weren't in on this bit of progressive inclusiveness. As such, the contestants had no idea she wasn’t born a woman and the whole show was built around the anticipation of their looming disappointment upon finding out. Tasteless!

#6: “Little Britain” (2003-07)


David Walliams’ and Matt Lucas’ comical sketch show “Little Britain” pulled in record viewing figures during its run on the BBC. Loved and endlessly quoted by audiences, fans couldn’t get enough of the caricatures the show presented. Since however, Lucas himself has suggested the series would never get made today and has voiced regret over the programme’s mocking of transvestites. That’s on top of his portrayal of black and female characters. He might be right in referring to his creation as a “cruel kind of comedy”.

#5: “Mind Your Language” (1977-79; 1986)


The writers of “Mind Your Language” should have taken the title’s advice! This blatantly xenophobic hitspan from the late seventies and mid-eighties and is clearly a product very much of its time. The English as a Foreign Language class setting resulted in an abundance of one note foreign characters, all while the white British lead struggled to maintain control. Indians, Chinese, the French… no one was spared from the prejudice ribbing. Except for the English guy, of course. Oh, and naturally a little sexist attitude was sprinkled in to boot.

#4: “Till Death Us Do Part” (1965; 1966-68; 1970; 1972-75)


Alf Garnett was the main character of “Till Death Us Do Part”, a hateful, racist, British empire worshipping bigot. According to the series’ creator, Alf was purportedly a satirical creation, intended to highlight racist divide amongst the working class. Whether the intentions were noble or not, a section of the audience ended up admiring him as a truth spouting hero! That isn’t a risk that would be taken in the present, and regardless of the ostensible goals of the series, the language used would never be cleared today.

#3: “Love Thy Neighbour” (1972-76)


Another series where the creators defended its concept by alleging it to be a work of satire, the fine line between that and revelling in racist humour becomes harder to distinguish. Just the very concept of “Love Thy Neighbour” – where an Englishman struggles to come to terms with a black couple moving in next door – would have contemporary TV executives spitting out their venti lattes! And with good reason! When reruns of the show have to come with a content warning, you know there’s something not quite right about the whole thing.

#2: “The Word” (1990-95)


It doesn’t get much more nineties than this! “The Word” was a magazine formatted show which aired on Channel 4 where controversy was encouraged, and it didn’t disappoint! Memorable moments included; a stage invasion during a Rage Against the Machine performance, a highly intoxicated Oliver Reed interview, singer Donita Sparks displaying full frontal nudity during a performance and Shabba Ranks suggesting homosexuals should be crucified. Plus, members of the audience doing anything to get on TV including making out with pensioners and licking sweat off of people! Enough said!

#1: “The Black and White Minstrel Show” (1958-78)


A series where dancers blackfaced for their performances. ... Does anything else need to be said? What's wrong here doesn't take much explanation, but this BBC variety show began in the fifties, and somehow spanned an incredulous twenty-year run. This was despite numerous complaints of racism, reportedly increasing with every passing year. At one point, the series was even replaced by a spin off that didn’t involve any black facing. But, unhappy with the viewing figures it achieved, the Beeb swiftly brought back the original. With all integrity seemingly thrown out of the proverbial window.
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