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John Cleese, 81, blasts ‘absurd’ woke culture as he launches series examining political correctness

John Cleese, 81, blasts ‘absurd’ woke culture as he fronts series examining political correctness… after Fawlty Towers ‘cancellation’ row

  • The actor will front John Cleese: Cancel Me, a series investigating cancel culture and political correctness in modern times
  • Last year, the star hit out at the BBC for temporarily removing an episode of Fawlty Towers because it ‘contained racial slurs’
  • The programme featured Major Gowen who said ‘all cricketers are n*****s, which John said was included to mock racists

John Cleese has blasted woke culture ahead of exploring political correctness in a new series. 

The actor, 81, previously hit out at the BBC for temporarily removing an episode of Fawlty Towers from streaming services for use of ‘outdated language’.

Now John is set to investigate ‘what can and can’t be said’ in the modern day, having previously stated that political correctness started as a ‘good idea’ but that society shouldn’t be centred around it.

Hitting out: John Cleese, 81, blasted ‘absurd’ woke culture ahead of fronting a series examining political correctness… after Fawlty Towers ‘cancellation’ row (pictured in 2021)  

The Cambridge University-educated star will join forces with a string of yet-to-be announced celebs who have found themselves ‘cancelled’, as well as those who are perpetuating the cancel culture.

Speaking ahead of the launch of John Cleese: Cancel Me, the Monty Python creator said: ‘I’m delighted to have a chance to find out, on camera, about all the aspects of so-called political correctness.

‘There’s so much I really don’t understand, like how the impeccable idea of, “Let’s all be kind to people,” has been developed in some cases absurdum.’

In character: The actor, 81, previously hit out at the BBC for temporarily removing an episode of Fawlty Towers from streaming services for use of 'outdated language' (pictured as Basil Fawlty)

In character: The actor, 81, previously hit out at the BBC for temporarily removing an episode of Fawlty Towers from streaming services for use of ‘outdated language’ (pictured as Basil Fawlty)

He continued: ‘I want to bring the various reasonings right out in the open so that people can be clearer in their minds what they agree with. What they don’t agree with, and what they still can’t make their mind up about.’

A running theme of the series will ask whether it is possible to make comedy without offending viewers from a selection of minority groups.

A release date for John Cleese: Cancel Me is yet to be announced.  

It comes less than a year after John, who played Basil Fawlty in the British sitcom, slammed the BBC-owned UKTV for removing an episode of Fawlty Towers which featured racist language made by the Major.

John branded the channel ‘stupid’ for not realising the show was mocking the Major’s use of the ‘n-word’ and added: ‘We were not supporting his views, we were making fun of them.’

The episode first aired in 1975 and sees Basil Fawlty goose-stepping around while shouting ‘don’t mention the war’ in front of a group of visiting Germans.

Angry: It comes less than a year after John (left) slammed the BBC-owned UKTV for removing an episode of Fawlty Towers which featured racist language made by the Major (pictured with Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs)

Angry: It comes less than a year after John (left) slammed the BBC-owned UKTV for removing an episode of Fawlty Towers which featured racist language made by the Major (pictured with Connie Booth and Andrew Sachs)

It also contains scenes showing the long-term hotel resident Major Gowen, played by Ballard Berkeley, recall the time he took a female friend to watch a game of cricket at The Oval.

The Major says: ‘The strange thing was that throughout the morning she kept referring to the Indians as n*****s.’

He adds: ‘No, no, no, no,’ I said, ‘n*****s are West Indians, these people are w**s’.

“‘No, no, no,” she said, “all cricketers are n*****s”.’ 

John later tweeted: ‘The BBC is now run by a mixture of marketing people and petty bureaucrats.

‘It used to have a large sprinkling of people who’d actually made programmes. Not any more.

‘So BBC decisions are made by persons whose main concern is not losing their jobs. That’s why they’re so cowardly and gutless and contemptible. I rest my case.’

A UKTV spokesman said at the time: ‘UKTV has temporarily removed an episode of Fawlty Towers ‘The Germans’ from Gold’s Box Set.

Angry: John later tweeted, 'The BBC is now run by a mixture of marketing people and petty bureaucrats

Angry: John later tweeted, ‘The BBC is now run by a mixture of marketing people and petty bureaucrats

‘The episode contains racial slurs so we are taking the episode down while we review it.

‘We regularly review older content to ensure it meets audience expectations and are particularly aware of the impact of outdated language.

‘Some shows carry warnings and others are edited. We want to take time to consider our options for this episode.’

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