'Little Britain' has returned to BBC with edits to classic episodes.

Little Britain has returned to BBC iPlayer

Little Britain has returned to BBC iPlayer

The controversial sketch comedy starring Matt Lucas and David Walliams - which was originally broadcast on the BBC from 2002 until 2005 - was removed from on-demand services altogether last year when it was deemed potentially offensive for its portrayal of stereotypes and use of blackface, but the series has now returned to BBC iPlayer in an edited format.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: "'Little Britain' has been made available to fans on BBC iPlayer following edits made to the series by Matt and David that better reflect the changes in the cultural landscape over the last 20 years since the show was first made."

Entertainment journalist Scott Bryan claimed on Twitter that the character of Desiree Devere - who David Walliams had worn blackface to portray - "appeared" have been edited out, but Matt's classic 'chav' alter ego Vicky Pollard has been left in the programme alongside other fan favourites.

He tweeted: "Desiree DeVere appears to have been edited out of Little Britain. Characters such as Emily Howard, Vicky Pollard, Andy and Anne remain. "

The BBC had initially taken the decision to remove the episodes of 'Little Britain' from streaming services such BritBox and BBC iPlayer and Netflix back in 2020.

At the time, a spokesperson said: "There's a lot of historical programming available on BBC iPlayer, which we regularly review. Times have changed since 'Little Britain' first aired so it is not currently available on BBC iPlayer."

Comedians Matt, 48, and David, 50, previously apologised for the material they created, which saw the latter paint his skin entirely black to portray Desiree DeVere.

In a tweet, Matt said: "David and I have both spoken publicly in recent years of our regret that we played characters of other races. Once again we want to make it clear that it was wrong and we are very sorry."